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ISLAMABAD: Some members of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance raised objection on inclusion of the name of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin in the Tax Directory 2019, as Tarin was not a parliamentarian during the tax year ending June 30, 2019.

The issue was raised by Senator Farooq H Naek during the Finance Committee meeting held on Wednesday to review the Finance Supplementary Bill, 2021.

Senator Naek raised some objections in the Parliamentarians’ Tax Directory for Tax Year 2019 during the committee proceedings.

He said that the tax directory is not clear about the date of publication.

The tax directory stated tax year 2019 but it is not clear that it is relating to the fiscal year 2018-19 or 2019-20 etc.

Senator Naek questioned that how the names of Tarin, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Taj Haider, and Palwasha Khan were made part of the Tax Directory 2019, when they were not parliamentarians during the said period.

Chairman FBR/ Secretary Revenue Division Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed responded that Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is now a Senator, but if the committee desires to exclude his name from the tax directory for tax year 2019, we will do it.

Senator Naek further objected that why only names of the parliamentarians have been published in the tax directory? Why names of the bureaucracy, the NAB officials and others are not part of the tax directory?

He added that the FBR should also inform basis for calculating presumptive tax of the parliamentarians.

Senator Musadik Malik stated that it is illegal to include the names of those parliamentarians in the tax directory, who were not parliamentarians at that time.

Senator Mohsin Aziz stated that if the parliamentarians want to include names of other categories of taxpayers in the directory, the committee should propose legislation.

The FBR chairman informed the committee that the prime minister and the Cabinet has given the necessary approval for issuing tax directory for the parliamentarians.

The Cabinet has directed the FBR to cross check the data with the concerned parliamentarians and the FBR has issued text messages and emails to the parliamentarians for verification of the said data before its publication.

Many parliamentarians have responded to the messages and we have correct and updated the information in the tax directory.

The senators responded that the FBR should write letters to the parliamentarians and give at least one-week period to respond instead of only 48 hours.

To ensure transparency, the FBR has also obtained the data from the Election Commission of Pakistan. If there is any mistake in the directory, the same has been updated on the FBR’s website.

About the presumptive tax regime, the FBR chairman said that the FBR has not calculated the tax, but the tax declared by the parliamentarians have been made part of the directory.

The FBR chairman said that the FBR has only data of the agricultural income, but no data of agricultural income tax paid with the provinces.

Dr Ashfaq added that in the previous format of tax directory, only the amount of tax paid by the parliamentarians was reflected, which caused a lot of confusion.

Therefore, learning from the past experience and with the prior approval of the government, additional columns have been added to show the income under different categories, i.e., normal, presumptive, and agriculture.

Likewise, last year, total tax payment by an AOP was shown in which the Parliamentarian was a member, this too created confusion.

This year, on advice of the Cabinet, the share of the parliamentarians’ tax paid by an AOP has also been shown.

The FBR chairman further explained that the FBR had tried its best to minimise mistakes.

However, in case of any human or technological error, the parliamentarians could approach the FBR for updating their tax record.

He also stated that the Parliamentarians’ Tax Directory for Tax Year 2020 would also be published in due course.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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