ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said on Friday urged unregistered potential taxpayers to start paying taxes before the FBR reaches them, saying that the country could not prosper without collecting taxes.
Addressing the launching ceremony of the National Sales Tax Directory by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Tarin said that the government has developed a system under which it will provide unregistered taxpayers the details of their income and expenses and how much they needed to pay in taxes.
“We have collected the data of millions of unregistered taxpayers. I am giving good news that we will reach them within the next few weeks and provide them with [the details of] their tax returns,” he said.
“We don’t need to send notices because we have proper data now. We will provide concrete data, i.e., their bank account status, how much they paid in utilities, how much they spent on travelling and other luxuries. Those who have reservations will be connected with a panel of auditors from the private sector for consultation.
“There will be no harassment, as I promised. But the law will take its own course against non-filers,” the minister added.
Finance Minister said that he could not bring reforms during his last tenure (2009) because he stepped down prematurely.
“But if I stay in the position this time around, everyone will have to pay taxes, including sales tax. Because the collection of taxes is the only way for the country to end economic crisis and take the path of prosperity,” he noted.
“This is the need of the hour as the country’s sovereignty is at stake. In a country of over 220 million, only three million people file returns,” Tarin said, adding that there should be at least 15 to 20 million taxpayers, barring people from the agriculture belt who had very low incomes.
He also congratulated the federal and provincial revenue divisions for coming on a single platform and making payment of revenues easy for taxpayers through the National Sales Tax Directory facility.
The minister said that a single platform will facilitate taxpayers, boost returns and reduce chances of errors.
“Under the previous system, if a company was operating in multiple provinces, it had to deal with more than one agency for filing returns, which increased the chances of errors."
However, now they would be required to file a single tax return under the new system, he added.
“This is the progressive way of tax collection," Tarin said, adding that the measure would lead to an increase in the revenue collection.
The article was first published in Business Recorder on January 7, 2022.