Persons not appearing in ATL will pay 100 percent increased withholding tax rate: FBR

KARACHI: Persons whose names are not appearing in the Active Taxpayers List (ATL) will be subjected to hundred percent increased rate of withholding tax, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said in a circular issued to explain changes made in Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 through Finance Act, 2019.

The FBR issued Circular No. 19 of 2019 and said that prior to Finance Act, 2019 a concept of non-filer existed in the Ordinance whereby higher tax rates of withholding were prescribed for persons who were non-filers.

Such non-filers could claim adjustment of the higher tax collected at the time of filing of income tax returns. The aim was to compel the non-filers to file their returns of income. “However, it was observed that the non-filers, even though subjected to higher withholding rates, still had a propensity not to file their returns,” the FBR said.

This proved detrimental to exercise of expansion or tax base. This was due to the absence of an explicit provision specifying a standard procedure for action against such persons.

Through Finance Act, 2019 the concept of non-filers has been done away with and a new concept regarding persons not appearing in the active taxpayers list has been introduced. This concept is a m ore paradigm shift from the erstwhile non-filer higher tax regime in that it not only penalizes those persons not appearing in the ATL but also introduces an effective mechanism for enforcing returns from such persons.

In this regard a new section 100BA to Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 has been introduced which provides that collection or deduction of advance income tax, computation of income and tax payable thereon shall be determined in accordance with the rules in the newly introduced ‘The Tenth Schedule’ which envisages the entire path to be adopted by the Inland Revenue Department to enforce returns from persons who make financial transactions yet choose not to file their returns of income.

The FBR said that the persons whose names are not appearing in the ATL will be subjected to 100 percent increased tax rate.

The FBR further said that where a withholding agent is of the opinion that 100 percent increased tax is not required to be collected on the basis that the person was not required to file return, the withholding agent shall furnish a notice to the commissioner having jurisdiction over withholding agent setting out –

a. The name, CNIC or NTN and address of the person not appearing in the ATL

b. The nature and amount of the transaction on which tax is required to be collected or deducted; and

c. Reason on the basis of which it is considered that the person was not required to file return or statement, as the case may be.

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