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Thursday, June 13, 2024  
06 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

FBR collects traders’ data as drive to widen tax net picks up pace

Officials say government serious about increasing tax revenue

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected 10 years traders data, sources said on Sunday as the tax collection authority takes action against defaulters.

The lifestyle and extravagant expenses of such traders do not match their tax data, they said and added that the FBR would send final notices to non-filers, including traders and industrialists.

Moreover, such tax evaders pay a small amount of tax while their annual income is in millions of rupees. Many traders and industrialists own multiple plots and also have business abroad.

The development comes a couple of weeks after the authority launched the Tajir Dost Scheme, designed to integrate traders and wholesalers into the formal tax framework by April 30. The initiative facilitates free registration and extends a variety of tax-related benefits to incentivise participation.

It is separate from the FBR’s decision to block 500,000 mobile phone SIMs of tax evaders. The authority has identified two million tax evaders, but mobile service-providing companies requested the tax authority that they could not afford to block such a large number of SIMs.

While facing the daunting task of bringing defaulters into the tax net, the FBR has prepared a list of traders in Lahore’s markets. They are from Akbari Mandi, Shah Alam Market, Azam Cloth, Anarkali, Liberty, Mall Road, Gulberg, Ferozepur Road, and Model Town.

In the second stage, traders from markets and bazaars across Punjab would be included in the list. Sources said that the authority has approached the courts that would reject the stay order taken by traders.

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Officials of FBR, while seeking anonymity, said that the government has to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio as per the IMF agreement. All legal requirements have been fulfilled and there was no room for tax evasion, they said and added that the government was serious about the matter.

Earlier this month, the government exceeded its nine-month tax collection target of over Rs6.7 trillion for this fiscal year on the back of sustained growth of income taxes. The FBR also managed to achieve the monthly target of Rs879 billion for the first time in the past two months.

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