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LAHORE: Punjab Revenue Authority will surpass the annual budget target of revenue collection of Rs155.9 billion likewise of the last year while it has already registered more than 100,000 taxpayers by December 2021 against the target assigned till June 2022.

The Authority has already collected Rs72 billion revenue in the first half (January-December) of the ongoing fiscal year 2021-22 as compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year of Rs58 billion. Further, out of the Rs58 billion, PRA had received Rs16 billion from Federal Board of Revenue in adjustment of taxes already collected by the Board.

This was briefed by the Chairperson PRA Zain ul Abidin Sahi to Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA) to discuss the revenue growth trajectory of the Authority and future prospects. President LEJA Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry is also present in this briefing. The PRA is registering almost 22 percent annual revenue growth which is almost double of nominal GDP rate of the country.

Elaborating the policy reforms, Sahi said the a policy was adopted in which taxpayers interactions ensured before going to the courts which resulted in reducing of court cases to only 574, out of which 64 are tax references in Lahore High Courts and 510 are writ petitions. Whereas, monthly new cases ratio is reduced to less than five. He explained that majority of time taxpayers were unaware about the issues and approached the court while now the PRA tries to resolve the issues at Authority which resulted in drastic decline in litigations.

Following the open door policy trust of the taxpayers increased in the PRA while the taxpayers know the issues would be resolved. ‘The PRA is a zero corruption department despite interactions with the taxpayers as both taxpayers and authority officials know about zero tolerance policy on corruption and tax evasion’, he mentioned. Further, policy of non corrosive measures also increased the trust of taxpayers. Any PRA official could not take any action of sealing of any business and attachments of bank accounts of taxpayers expect the Chairperson. During the last year corrosive measures were taken against only three cases.

On a question about taxing the international services providers like Google, Netflix and other in the province, Sahi said always a mechanism needed to get tax from the taxpayers. He said that once a mechanism devised the taxpayers compelled to pay taxes.

Thus, the PRA is devising a mechanism in which seamless system would be made for the international technology companies and services providers to pay the taxes. He believed once the mechanism will evolve than the international companies will pay the taxes.

On tax evasion by the restaurant sector, Chairperson PRA said that so far 750 Point of Sale (POS) was integrated with the PRA system while further integration was underway. Beside, integration of the businesses which included restaurants, beauty parlours and others, the PRA also creating awareness among the small restaurants and service providers working without POS with conventional method to get themselves registered with the Authority and start paying taxes. Further, the PRA is also opening tax offices in the small cities where it believed the good number of unregistered businesses is operational.

These cities included Muree, Sialkot, Gujarat and others.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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