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ISLAMABAD: As many as 37 million invoices were issued by Tier-1 retailers, which are integrated with the FBR POS system in January as compared to 33 million in December 2021, registering a growth of four million.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data revealed that among various innovative initiatives launched by the FBR to maximise tax compliance through digitisation of business transactions, automation of its operations and facilitation of taxpayers, Point of Sale System is one key intervention which aims to monitor sales made by Tier-1 Retailers across Pakistan.

Adding value to this critically important sector and plug revenue leakages, the FBR has launched an aggressive awareness campaign on the mainstream national media to educate and engage consumers in order to ensure that tax collected from them at the point of sale is deposited into state exchequer and not pocketed by the retailers themselves.

Furthermore, the campaign also encompasses a prize scheme worth Rs53 million to be disbursed among 1007 lucky winners through a transparent computerised ballot to be held on 15th of every month at the FBR Headquarters, Islamabad.

The first ballot has already been conducted in front of the TV channels and the winners were contacted live during the ceremony and congratulated by the chairman FBR himself over the phone call. Around 800 winners have also been transferred prize money into their accounts after due diligence and required verification.

This is truly an unprecedented example of involving citizens in tax compliance and raise their awareness about their national responsibility to not pay their due tax but also safeguard the same from being stolen on its way to national exchequer.

The ongoing outreach campaign and the prize scheme have started paying the desired dividends as numbers speak for themselves. In January, the FBR has witnessed that over 153,000 invoices were verified by customers who shopped from outlets integrated with the FBR POS System as against 45,000 in December when the campaign was launched.

Likewise, around 37 million invoices were issued by Tier-1 retailers, which are integrated with the FBR POS System in January as compared to 33 million in December 2021, registering a steady growth of four million. The number of customers has jumped from 10,000 to 27,000 within one month who successfully verified their invoices.

However, 29,000 invoices issued by Tier-1 Retailers could not be verified, which are presumably fake.

This is a phenomenal increase in public participation and is likely to further grow with every passing day.

The second computerised ballot is to be held on 15th February (Tuesday evening) at the FBR Headquarters, Islamabad. It is so why reassuring to see that people at large are excited to engage in this exercise.

While addressing the participants present during the first computerized draw of POS Prize Scheme held at the FBR (HQs) in the presence of national mainstream media on 15th January 2022, Chairman FBR Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed had appealed to the Pakistani citizens to launch a national movement for the promotion of a culture of tax compliance in the country.

He had suggested a three-pronged strategy to ensure that sales tax collected from customers at the point of sale was actually being deposited in the state exchequer. He had proposed that people should shop only from those Tier-1 retail outlets, which were integrated with the FBR POS System, demand computerised invoice (Pakki receipt), and finally verify the same through FBR’s Tax Asaan App.

It is so very reassuring to witness that citizens have started responding to his call and are demanding Pakki receipt from the retail outlets. The FBR has already distributed prizes worth Rs53 million among the lucky 1007 winners in the first computerized ballot held on 15th January, 2022. It is also heartening to see that people are showing a lot of interest in becoming part of next computerized draw, which will be held on 15th February, 2022.

It is further encouraging to witness that a huge number of customers are verifying their shopping receipts through the FBR’s Tax Asaan Mobile App and SMS. People are also reaching out to the Field Formations as well as the FBR (HQs) to seek necessary guidance about this innovative prize scheme. Some of the responsible citizens have started sharing their invoices directly to senior management not only to discharge their national duty but also to register their support for this digital intervention made by the FBR.

This rare zeal and exemplary commitment shown by huge number of people at large is a testimony to their trust in the FBR and its innovative prize scheme. This spirit has already triggered an increased sense of responsibility in the people at large to become the watchmen of their tax collected by the retailers in order to ensure that the same is safely deposited in the national exchequer.

This initiative of engagement of customers is all set to pick momentum and thus, accelerate the desired national drive to promote tax compliance and substantially increase revenues. It also aims to incentivize people to play their role as responsible citizens and compliant taxpayers. The POS Prize Scheme is providing an opportunity to people to win cash prizes after they shop from Tier-1 POS integrated retail outlets by verifying their receipts through Tax Asaan App or SMS.

Therefore, the FBR has once again appealed to all the citizens across Pakistan to always ask for computerised invoice with a bar code (Pakki receipt) whenever they go for shopping, so that they could participate in the computerised draw to be held on 15th of every month, without fail.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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