FBR Freezes Bank Accounts of National Flag Carrier for Rs 2.76 Billion Recovery

FBR Freezes Bank Accounts of National Flag Carrier for Rs 2.76 Billion Recovery

Karachi, November 29, 2023 – The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) took stringent action on Wednesday by freezing all bank accounts of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national flag carrier, in an effort to recover an outstanding tax amount of Rs 2.76 billion.

The Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) Karachi, the primary revenue-collecting arm of the FBR, issued notices instructing banks to maintain the freeze on the accounts until the recovery of the unpaid amount.

PIA has been grappling with financial challenges for several years, and this recent action by the FBR highlights the severity of the situation. The airline, in addition to its financial struggles, is under scrutiny for allegedly holding onto tax money collected on behalf of the FBR.

This is not the first time that the FBR has taken such measures against PIA. In the past, the board has attached the airline’s bank accounts on multiple occasions. However, interventions by the government have led to the restoration of transaction capabilities for the national carrier.

In the latest attempt to recover the outstanding tax, LTO Karachi informed the banks that PIA owed a significant sum of Rs 2.76 billion in unpaid Federal Excise Duty (FED). The airline, acting as a withholding agent, collects FED at the time of ticket sales. It is crucial to note that this money does not pertain to the airline’s financial matters but is collected on behalf of the FBR.

Sources within LTO Karachi revealed that PIA has been a defaulter for multiple tax years. They further emphasized that the authority to recover funds through the attachment of bank accounts has been granted under tax laws.

The move by the FBR to freeze PIA’s accounts underscores the government’s commitment to recovering unpaid taxes and ensuring financial accountability. It is expected that this development will prompt PIA to engage with tax authorities to resolve the outstanding dues. The financial health of the national flag carrier is crucial not only for its operations but also for the broader aviation sector and the image of Pakistan on the international stage.