Third-party to conduct audit of 15M potential taxpayers

Third-party to conduct audit of 15M potential taxpayers

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin announced on Tuesday that the government is set to launch Universal Self-Assessment, a third-party approach, for auditing 15 million potential taxpayers.

Addressing the National Assembly during the approval of the 2021-2022 budget, Tarin revealed that the government has gathered information on these individuals from their utility bills, including electricity bills.

The Finance Minister emphasized that the government aims to streamline the tax assessment process through this innovative approach. He assured that the new system would involve a third-party mandate to negotiate with new tax filers, eliminating the possibility of harassment. Tarin highlighted the government’s commitment to tax rationalization, focusing on reforms within the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) through automation and increased transparency.

In the budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022, the government has prioritized tax incentives and relief for the industrial sector. Shaukat Tarin noted that no new taxes have been imposed, and the focus is on providing a conducive environment for businesses. He underlined the significance of tax reforms to achieve the annual revenue target and emphasized the role of technology in transforming tax administration.

In addition to the Universal Self-Assessment, the Finance Minister highlighted various tax exemptions and relief measures introduced in the budget. These include reductions in taxes for certain categories of vehicles, exemptions for children’s milk, medicines, medical equipment, the IT sector, and the poultry industry, including poultry feed ingredients. The government is committed to providing relief to the people and supporting inclusive development in the country.

Shaukat Tarin also addressed the issue of inflation, pointing out that core inflation remains at 7 percent, with high food inflation. He identified increasing agricultural production as a crucial solution to address inflation, emphasizing the need to invest in the agricultural sector. The government plans to allocate Rs. 150 billion directly and indirectly in the agricultural sector for the financial year 2021-22, with subsidies for fertilizer and pesticides.

Highlighting the economic challenges inherited from previous administrations, Tarin pointed out that the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) government turned a Current Account Deficit (CAD) of $20 billion left by the former government into a surplus. He highlighted the economic successes achieved by the current government despite inheriting substantial liabilities, including external debt and trade deficits.

In a significant development, the National Assembly passed the Finance Bill, 2021, with a majority vote. A total of 240 lawmakers participated in the debate on the federal budget for 2021-22, with 172 voting in favor of the motion and 138 opposing it. The Finance Bill, 2021, was passed after a thorough clause-by-clause reading, voice voting, and consideration of amendments.

The introduction of the Universal Self-Assessment system reflects the government’s commitment to modernizing tax procedures and ensuring a fair and efficient tax assessment process in Pakistan.