Islamabad: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed Wednesday said the FBR will disable SIMs of mobile phones and discontinue electricity and gas connections of tax evaders and non-filers liable to file returns under the newly-introduced Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.
He briefed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue here on Wednesday at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Faizullah, MNA.
He said that besides broadening the tax base the Tax Laws (Third) Amendment Ordinance 2021 would also be instrumental in increasing tax collection, but it would not affect the poor segment of the society.
Poor people are not involved in tax aversion or concealment of income.
Under new Section 114B of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, the FBR shall have the powers to issue income tax general order in respect of persons who are not appearing on the ATL but are liable to file return under the provisions of the Income Tax Ordinance.
The income tax general order may entail consequences including disabling of mobile phones or mobile phone SIMs; discontinuance of electricity connection; and discontinuance of gas connection.
The FBR will issue notices to the unregistered persons who are concealing their income, he maintained.
He said that the sales tax rate on diesel is less, which would result in low collection from POL products.
The meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue expressed their concern that increase in revenue was due to increase in import and their prices, which was not a positive indication with regard to broadening of tax net etc. Faizullah said that as increase in revenue highlighted by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) reflects that growth was due to increase in import, which was not a positive indication with regard to broadening of tax net etc.
In September 2021, the sales tax rate on high-speed diesel was reduced from 17 percent to 11.64 percent.
The reduced rates of sales tax on petroleum products would have a negative impact of nearly Rs150 billion on the FBR’s overall tax collection.
According to the Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, the powers have been obtained by the FBR to discontinue gas and electricity connections of persons including tier-1 retailers, who are either not registered or if registered not integrated in terms of section 3(9A).
Once the tax evasion is proved, these enforcement actions would be taken.
The FBR chairman said that the FBR will massively invest in the infrastructure, particularity, in the IT sector including hardware and software to avert cyber attacks in future.
Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, chairman FBR apprised the committee about the overall performance of the FBR, particularly, refunds on both income tax and sales tax from 2008, to date.
He explained the revenue collection trend, which confirmed the growth in revenue collection, especially, during the months of July and August 2021.
He further highlighted the refunds details from 2007-08 to 2020-21 and Income Tax pendency from 2008 to 2013, which was approximately Rs323.8 billion.
The chairman FBR informed the committee that the refunds of sales tax as on 22 September 2021 were pending due to tariff differential.
He was of the view that tariff differential policy need to be reviewed, moreover, he emphasised the need of massive investment for infrastructure, particularity, in IT sector in the wake of recent cyber-attack in the FBR.
He was also of the opinion that policy consideration regarding pending income and sales tax refunds prior to tax year 2020 required to be liquidated through TSG.
The FBR chairman said that the FBR’s good work performance of revenue collection during July-August 2021-22 needs to be appreciated despite, the fact that the collection has been increased due to imports, direct taxes or indirect taxes.
The FBR has collected Rs850 billion during July-August (2021-22) against the assigned target of Rs690 billion, reflecting an increase of Rs160 billion.
The FBR chairman said that the achievement of the target is 123 percent during the first two months of 2021-22.
The FBR’s provisional tax collection stood at Rs850 billion during July-August (2021-22) against Rs603 billion in the same period of 2020-21, showing a growth of 41 percent.
The FBR has provisionally collected Rs434 billion in August 2021 against the target of Rs349 billion, reflecting an increase of Rs85 billion (125 percent achievement of target).
The FBR has collected Rs434 billion in August 2021 against Rs300 billion in August 2020, reflecting a growth of 45 percent, he added.
The committee members have expressed their concerns over the increase highlighted by the FBR in revenue collection.
The Committee noted that said increase of revenue growth was due to increase of price in import, which was not a positive indication with regard to broadening of tax net etc.
The Committee discussed the “The Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2020”, clause by clause, the chairman Audit Oversight Board and other stakeholders were also present in the meeting.
After threadbare discussion, the committee unanimously passed the bill with some amendments.
However, the Committee deferred the other legislative agenda due to shortage of time.
The meeting was attended by Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Syed Naveed Qamar, Ali Pervaiz, Dr Nafisa Shah, Amjad Ali Khan, Chaudhry Khalid Javed, Sadaqat Ali Khan Abbasi, Makhdoom Syed Samiul Hassan Gillani, Faheem Khan, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh MNA/members and Syed Hussain Tariq, MNAs/special invitee besides the senior officers from Ministry of Finance, the FBR, Housing and Works, the State Bank of Pakistan Controller General of Accountant, Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021