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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has informed Prime Minister Imran Khan that the income tax return filers for tax year 2020 has reached 2.4 million along with tax payments of Rs45 billion till January 9, 2021 against 2.2 million returns filed last year with tax payments of Rs28.5 billion, showing extraordinary increase both in terms of returns and tax payments.

Top FBR officials told Business Recorder here on Sunday that the PM has appreciated the performance of Special Assistant to the PM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood and Chairman of FBR Javed Ghani during a meeting to review tax reforms held at the PM House. The meeting was also attended by Federal Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Shibli Faraz and Hammad Azhar, Advisor to PM Dr Ishrat Hussain and senior FBR officials.

According to the sources, there is almost 60 percent growth in tax paid along with the income tax returns for tax year 2020. There is an addition of Rs16.5 billion additional tax along with the returns till year which is a big achievement.

Till January 9, 2021, the FBR has received a record number of 2.4 million returns for tax year 2020 against 2.2 million returns filed during corresponding period of tax year 2019, reflecting an increase of 0.2 million. There is an increase in the number of return filers on daily basis.

Senior officials informed that a total of 65,000 new taxpayers have filed income tax returns for tax year 2020. These individuals/persons have never filed income tax returns and this is for the first time that 65,000 persons have voluntarily filed returns as a result of FBR's awareness campaign. These 65,000 new taxpayers have also paid tax of Rs450 million along with the returns. The FBR's effective enforcement exercise and electronic integration of data has resulted in an increase in the number of return filers due to large scale awareness campaign on national level.

Sources said that out of one million nil-filers (who paid zero tax) of income tax returns, but their withholding tax has been deducted in different transactions, notices were served to 70,000 persons. The notices of such nil-filers have been served in phase wise manner. Out of these 70,000 persons, 17,000 individuals have promptly responded to these notices. These 17,000 persons have revised their income tax returns to provide justification/explanation or paid additional taxes in response to notices, top officials added.

Tax authorities informed the PM that the FBR's revenue collection has crossed Rs2205 billion during first six months (July-December) 2020-21. The FBR has collected a net revenue of over Rs2205 billion, which is over 99.7 percent of its six-monthly target of Rs2210 billion for the current Fiscal Year from July to December.

For the month of December only, the total collected revenue stood at Rs508 billion, which was 97.7 percent of the target of Rs520 billion and showed a growth of 8.3 percent against 469 billion collected in last December. There is an increase of Rs39 billion in the revenue collection as compared to December 2019. This is the highest monthly growth during Jul-Dec period.

The FBR has further informed the PM that the automation of the taxation system would enhance transparency and reduce corruption and tax evasion.

The meeting was informed that the income tax return form was simplified for the small and medium enterprises by reducing its pages from five to one and entries from 200 to just 24. In this regard, the cottage industry and small and medium enterprises were allowed to avail the major facility of simplified income tax return form for manufacturers having turnover of less than Rs50 million for the tax year 2020. The new income tax return form and wealth statement was issued for manufacturers (individuals and association of persons) having annual turnover of less than Rs50 million.

During current Financial Year from July to December, 2020, refunds to the tune of Rs144 billion were paid against only Rs76 billion last year have been issued which has shown an increase of 89 percent. The healthy figures of refunds issuance have greatly boosted the economic activity in the country.

During the first six months of current Fiscal Year, smuggled goods worth Rs30 billion have been seized as compared to seizures of Rs22 billion during the corresponding months of 2019.

Briefing about the point of sale (POS) system for big retailers, the FBR informed the PM that the FBR has estimated registration of around 4,000 retailers having over 20,000 branches/outlets, with the POS integration system. The FBR would register 70 percent of the retail business of the country following integration of 4000 big retailers and their 20,000 branches by the end of 2020-21.

To promote investment in the Green Field Industry and to facilitate such investors, FBR informed that the Board has launched online module in Iris for facilitating filing of applications for the grant of Green Field Industry Status. Moreover, the FBR has launched Electronic Filing of Appeals with effect from 1st January, 2021.

It was informed that the FBR is fully geared towards automation, e-audit, and simplification of procedures, e-payment of duty draw back so as to add to Ease of Doing Business (EoDB). FBR has upgraded Iris system for issuing SMS and e-mails whenever any notice is issued or any assignment is created by Tax Officer. FBR has launched a system Maloomat-TaxRay wherein taxpayers’ can access all information available with the FBR by logging through a secure mechanism. For further facilitation, this feature has been launched in mobile app, Tax Assan, so that taxpayers’ can easily access all such information.

FBR has established special committees to urgently resolve the complaints of the taxpayers. Now, the taxpayers’ can file complaints through Helpline, Email, Complaint Portal and registered post. Sources said that the PM directed the FBR to fully automate systems so as to facilitate taxpayers and reduce human interaction. The PM has also desired that FBR should keep close liaison with the top taxpayers. Responding to this, FBR Chairman informed the PM that he has recently sent greetings to the top ten taxpayers in individual, AOPs and companies categories and had appreciated the role played by top taxpayers and assured of FBR total support in further facilitating them, sources added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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