Income tax return filing rises to record high of 2.66 million

ISLAMABAD: The income tax return filing has increased to record high of 2.66 million for tax year 2018, according to returns filed up to October 27, 2019 for the said tax year.

Officials of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) attributed the record high to 100 percent higher withholding tax imposed on persons not appearing on Active Taxpayers List (ATL).

The official said that around 150,000 – 200,000 returns, which were filed manually, were still not added to the ATL. The addition of these returns will further increase the total number of filed returns for tax year 2018.

The FBR received around 1.84 million annual income tax returns for tax year 2017. This means the return filing registered 45 percent so far for tax year 2018.

Through Finance Act, 2019 the Tenth Schedule was introduced to Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 under which persons not appeared on the ATL, even filed the return, would liable to pay 100 percent more withholding tax amount.

The FBR issues ATL on every year on March 01 on the basis of return filed by taxpayers by due date for relevant tax year.

The FBR issued latest ATL on March 01, 2019 on the basis of returns filed for tax year 2018. Since the date for filing returns extended up to August 09, 2019 for tax year 2018, the names of those return filers were added to the updated ATL.

By August 09, 2019 the number of return filers was increased to 2.5 million. However, additional 0.16 million returns were been filed after payment of late filing surcharge.

The FBR in an explanatory note said that restriction on including a person’s name on ATL, if the person has not filed Tax Return by the due date specified by Income tax authorities was introduced through Finance Act, 2018.

However, through Finance Act, 2019 a person’s name can be part of ATL, even if the person has filed Tax Return after the due date specified by Income Tax authorities, the FBR said.

Furthermore, it added, a surcharge for placement on ATL after due date of filing of Tax Return will be charged at Rs1,000 from individuals, Rs10,000 from Association of Persons (AOPs) and Rs20,000 from companies.

FBR officials said that people were filing their income tax returns for tax year 2018 along with late surcharge, despite the due date for tax year 2019 had been prescribed, for avoiding 100 percent withholding tax rates.

They said that the current ATL would remain applicable till February 29, 2020 as new ATL on the basis of return filed for tax year 2019 would be issued on March 01, 2020.

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