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Jun 06, 2020 PRINT EDITION
Business

FBR should utilise automation for identifying taxpayers, HNWIs: Dr Ishrat

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Dr Ishrat Hussain Friday conveyed to the tax authorities of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to fully utilise automation for integration of data of all taxes to identify potential tax

May 16, 2020

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Dr Ishrat Hussain Friday conveyed to the tax authorities of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to fully utilise automation for integration of data of all taxes to identify potential taxpayers and high net worth individuals.
Dr Ishrat Hussain on Friday visited the FBR House and met the FBR team of senior members lead by FBR Chairperson Nausheen Javaid Amjad. The meeting on reforms in the tax administration was chaired by Dr Ishrat Hussain.
The institutional reform body headed by Dr Ishrat is also considering keeping tax machinery within the domain of the government for protecting their privileges.
Dr Ishrat has further informed the tax authorities that the Ministry of Law will be consulted to ensure that the privileges of the FBR officials remained intact after granting autonomy on the pattern of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
According to sources, Dr Ishrat Hussain has asked the FBR to undertake reforms in phases and some steps related to automation and integration of taxes would be done in the coming budget, while next phase from July-December 2020 was outlined to ensure effective implementation in a phased manner.
Under reforms, the FBR is committed for coordination with provinces and automated data sharing system with all provinces functional, including automatic algorithm-based cross-checks of taxpayer information, automated data sharing system with all provinces, including automatic algorithm-based cross-checks of taxpayer information.
The reforms in the FBR also included that the numbers of taxpayers with taxable incomes/economic activities identified through automated data sharing and ICT-based business intelligence.
In the past, Dr Ishrat Hussain stressed upon the government to automate all business processes, simplify laws, eliminate interaction between tax collector and taxpayers and use CNIC (computerized national identity card) to detect tax evasion for creating a better business regulatory environment for investors.
"The technology has given us power of real-time business information. We will have to automate all business processes, reduce interaction between the tax collector and taxpayer through automation including automation of income tax, customs duty, sales tax and even refunds," he said.
He said that the CNIC can be effectively used to avoid tax evasion in the country.
Without human intervention, the artificial intelligence can question the citizen about the mismatching of data like how a person has traveled five to six times aboard in business class, while declaring only Rs10,000 in his annual income tax return.
The proposed plan of restructuring of the FBR as envisaged in the minutes of the meeting held at PM House on 3rd October, 2019 outlines the establishment of Pakistan Revenue Authority as an autonomous body. After detailed dialogue, stakeholder input has been sought from consultative committees.
The ToRs of the consultative committees formed for proposing the future status of the tax authority provides three options including attached department under the federal government; semi-autonomous body and autonomous body.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020