The Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation-Inland Revenue (IR) Islamabad has launched a country-wide documentation drive against persons with huge assets, but still outside the tax net. During the exercise, individuals with substantial assets and income will be specifically targeted to bring them into the tax net.
Sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that a comprehensive plan has been devised for the purpose where special teams of the agency, equipped with electronic gadgets, would capture pictorial evidence and videos of both the movable and immovable assets of the non-NTN holders with high net assets. These teams would secretly carry out surveys in posh localities, large commercial markets, car parking, clubs, industrial estates, farmhouses and other areas to trace the owners of expensive movable and immovable assets. During the exercise, the agency’s officers would not only interact with the persons but collect undeniable evidence against them. On the basis of evidence, detailed tax profiles of the individuals would be generated to tax the assets and investments of such individuals. The profile of un-documented persons would contain such details as pictures of their vehicles, properties and details of their banking transactions backed by documentary evidence.
The intended drive of the agency will be implemented in phases and in the first, a minimum benchmark of assets and wealth has been set to target individuals with high investment and consumption. Under the policy, the cases of large scale tax dodgers would be prioritised and action would be taken against mega cases. The exercise will subsequently be extended to further segments of the economy to effectively expand the tax net. The targeted exercise is expected to focus on large tax evaders and meet more success compared to the FBR past attempts of broadening the tax base which lacked direction and focus.
Sources said that the agency also plans to access bank accounts of non-NTN holders with high net assets, wherever required. Similarly, NTN holders not filing income tax returns are also being tracked and evidence is being collected to enforce more compliance in the shape of filing tax returns.
According to sources, the seriousness of the exercise is evident from the fact that not only assets and investments inside Pakistan, but assets created outside Pakistan will also be probed. For example, the government would also approach the concerned authorities in the UAE for collecting information about Pakistanis making investment in the UAE. The agency would obtain information about investment made by such tax evaders from the UAE to tax their actual income and investment aboard.
The exercise would not clash with the current broadening of tax-bas exercise of the Commissioner BTB FBR Headquarters as the agency’s initiative is specialised project aimed at bringing large scale income and investment into the tax net.
Sources further said that it is the right time to take strict action against the persons, who themselves are invisible but their assets are visible in the form of luxurious vehicles on roads, commercial markets and plazas, costly restaurants and clubs, farmhouses, bungalows and other movable and immovable assets across the country. This enforcement exercise would be entirely different from the FBR’s ongoing exercise of documentation as agency would obtain updated evidence in the form of pictures, videos and bank statements, etc, to be utilised as documentary evidence without any direct interaction with the non-NTN holder rich person.
Author: Sohail Sarfaraz
Source: Business Recorder