Telecom Operators Begin Blocking SIMs of Non-Filers in Pakistan

Telecom Operators Begin Blocking SIMs of Non-Filers in Pakistan

Islamabad, May 10, 2024 – Pakistan’s telecom operators have begun the process of blocking mobile phone SIM cards belonging to individuals who have not filed their income tax returns.

The decision was finalized on Friday during a meeting between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and various telecom companies.

The meeting focused on enforcing Income Tax General Order No. 1, issued under Section 114B of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, targeting non-filers for the tax year 2023. This initiative aims to bolster tax compliance and enhance the efficiency of tax collection mechanisms across the country.

The enforcement process, which has been discussed extensively in multiple sessions to ensure smooth implementation, will begin with a manual blocking of SIMs in small batches. According to the agreed plan, the first batch of 5,000 non-filers was identified and shared with telecom operators for immediate action. The operators will continue to receive lists on a daily basis, gradually escalating the enforcement until all non-compliant users are covered.

Telecom companies have also started sending out notifications to the identified non-filers, alerting them about the impending blocking of their SIMs. This move is part of a broader effort to encourage tax filing and compliance among the populace.

“This collaborative effort between FBR and the telecom sector underscores our commitment to uphold tax laws and regulations,” stated an FBR spokesperson. “It is a significant step forward in enhancing our tax enforcement framework and we appreciate the cooperation from all stakeholders involved in this initiative.”

The decision to block SIMs of non-filers is expected to impact a substantial number of individuals, prompting them to regularize their tax status. This policy not only aims to increase the number of tax filers but also serves as a deterrent to tax evasion, a persistent issue that has plagued the country’s economic development.

The FBR has expressed gratitude for the collaborative spirit shown during the discussions and emphasized its intention to continue these efforts to ensure greater compliance and expand the tax base in Pakistan. With this stringent measure, the government hopes to secure a more stable and equitable economic future for the nation.