FBR Nets 4.5 Million Potential Tax Evaders in Digital Dragnet

FBR Nets 4.5 Million Potential Tax Evaders in Digital Dragnet

Islamabad, July 6, 2024 – Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has made a significant breakthrough in its efforts to combat tax evasion. In a briefing presented to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the FBR identified a staggering 4.5 million individuals with taxable income who are currently not registered within the national tax system.

Prime Minister Sharif, emphasizing the government’s commitment to digitalization as a key tool for preventing tax evasion, directed the immediate creation of a monitoring dashboard. This dashboard will provide real-time insights into the ongoing digitization efforts and implementation of tax reforms.

The Prime Minister chaired a meeting specifically focused on reviewing the FBR’s reform process. He issued clear directives to the authorities concerned. These directives included incorporating the identified non-filers into the tax net, eliminating discretionary powers held by customs appraisers, and obtaining a comprehensive implementation report from the FBR chairman within 24 hours.

The meeting also revealed positive results from recent initiatives. Over 300,000 new individuals have filed tax returns in just a few weeks, demonstrating the effectiveness of the government’s measures. Additionally, efforts to identify fraudulent practices have led to the suspension of tax refunds for over 4,000 companies suspected of under-invoicing and submitting forged sales tax refund claims.

Prime Minister Sharif vowed to take a firm stance against tax evasion. He declared that both evaders and any officials who facilitate them will face punishment. Conversely, he expressed appreciation for taxpayers who fulfill their obligations on time.

Highlighting the importance of transparency and preventing corruption, the Prime Minister announced plans to install state-of-the-art scanners at Pakistani seaports. He also requested a detailed report outlining the extent of tax evasion and proposed measures to curb it effectively.

Looking towards the future, Prime Minister Sharif emphasized the goal of establishing a world-class taxation system in Pakistan. He called for the involvement of reputable professionals and experts in formulating effective tax policies. The meeting concluded with the Prime Minister requesting a comprehensive strategy outlining the FBR’s digitization and reform plans, along with specific targets to be achieved in the next meeting.

These developments signal a renewed focus by the Pakistani government on tackling tax evasion and modernizing the country’s tax collection system. The identification of millions of potential tax evaders, coupled with the implementation of digital tools and stricter enforcement measures, has the potential to significantly increase tax revenue and improve financial transparency in Pakistan.