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budget proposals

Bank account holders should file tax returns, wealth statements

KARACHI: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should devise a framework to ensure all customers of financial institutions whose account show turnover above Rs2 million have filed tax returns and wealth statement.

“This could be done by the financial institutions simply notifying names/CNIC numbers of such customers to FBR without giving access to bank accounts,” this was recommended by Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) in its proposals for budget 2021/2022.

The chamber presented its proposals for broadening of tax base:

FBR should simplify the tax structure of the country by implementing tax reforms recommendations already been submitted by various forums in the past, and also hold regular round table conferences with leading tax and legal experts to review existing laws for increasing the number of taxpayers and taxable entities.

Tax authorities should use technology, data analytics including Artificial Intelligence tools and make better/effective utilization of NADRA database and other documented sources to ensure that all income earners are NTN holders and “Filers”, with submission of annual income tax/wealth returns and wealth reconciliation statements. FBR and SBP to devise a framework to ensure all customers of financial institutions whose account shows turnover in excess of PKR two million or more during the year, have filed a tax return and wealth statement. This could be done by the financial institutions simply notifying names/CNIC numbers of such customers to FBR without giving access to bank accounts.

Art exhibition halls, hospitals where doctors practice, hotels and other public places holding large receptions for fashion houses & designers, sale of branded/designer dresses, airlines, travel agencies, etc should provide names and addresses of the respective persons involved in these business activities to the FBR on a quarterly basis. iv. Once the FBR receives the above information, it should be pro-active and pursue potential taxpayers by sending them income tax return forms requiring them to file tax returns – rather than waiting for the tax returns to be filed.

Section 111(4) of ITO 2001, last amended in 2018, should be further reviewed to restrict tax free inward foreign remittances to immediate family members only.

Eliminate culture of Amnesty Schemes as it discourages the honest taxpayers.

Severe, and visible, penalties should be levied to punish tax evaders, starting with evasions of over PKR one million.

As Pakistan is a signatory to the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which became operational from September 2018, regular coordination should be done with relevant authorities of countries, considered as tax heavens for stashing away illegal wealth, for information sharing, and cases of proven tax evasion publicly shared.

Appropriate laws should be made to enable the government to seize local assets, in equivalent value, or levy appropriate taxes, if any person holds any kind of assets outside the country for which source of income could not be established.