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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has revived the Directorate General of Broadening the Tax-Base Unit (BTB) to register potential taxpayers and high net-worth individuals with the help of data and specialized zones to be established in major cities of the country.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Friday that Zubair Bilal, a BS-20 officer of Inland Revenue Service has been appointed as the new Director General (BTB), FBR (HQ), Islamabad.

In 2019, the FBR’s management suddenly shelved this whole BTB regime overnight; disbanding BTB Zones Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. During the last three years, there was no specialised directorate/department of the FBR to exclusively deal with the BTB. Presently, the Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) have failed to achieve the desired results as far as BTB is concerned.

In the past, former FBR Member Shahid Hussain Asad was assigned the task of Director General Broadening the Tax Base (BTB) and separate “Broadening the Tax-Base Units” were established in each reformed units in the field formations.

The experience of disbanding the Directorate General BTB revealed that the RTOs failed to do the specified job of documenting the potential taxpayers.

In the first phase, BTB Zones would be established at Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad which would be linked with the data analysis team in the FBR Headquarters. The target would be registration of only potential taxpayers, sources said.

Under section 230D of the Income Tax Ordinance, the Directorate General of Broadening of Tax Base shall consist of a director-general and as many directors, additional directors, deputy directors, assistant directors and such other officers as the board may, by notification in the official Gazette. The board may, by notification in the official Gazette, specify the functions, jurisdiction and powers of the Directorate-General of Broadening of Tax Base, it added.

The FBR has not uploaded 3.5 million National Database and Registration Authority’s profiles of non-filers on the web portal specifically framed for the non-filers of the income tax. The idea was to launch a new web portal for millions of non-filers to have an updated data of financial transactions of citizens with tax profiling by the Nadra.

Recently, through In-House Analysis FTO Secretariat has also identified that though the FBR and its dozens of field formations maintain an organised web portal, rich data centre, exhaustive databases, elaborate and comprehensive operational software and houses a full-fledged and home-grown IT support system, ie, the Pakistan Automation (Pvt) Ltd (Pral), yet neither the FBR HQs nor its any single field formation maintains any IT-based tracking system, archiving various valuable initiatives and ventures made by different FBR’s organizations, officers, teams or specially created cells from time to time; any exhaustive, fool-proof and IT-enabled handing over module (from predecessors to successors) for such initiatives; any institutionalized internal follow up system, or any internal evaluation mechanism to gauge whether the goals envisaged under the FBR’s flagship ventures have been logically pursued and achieved.

Therefore, it was reasonably assumed that in most of the cases the good job done is wasted, diluted or compromised with the transfer of individuals, dissolution of units/cells and takeover by new managers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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