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ITIS also to be launched in Karachi

ISLAMABAD (February 02 2004): Following the successful operation of Integrated Tax Information System (ITIS) at Lahore, the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has decided to launch the system at Karachi for discovering new taxpayers.

Official sources told Business Recorder here on Sunday that CBR Member (Direct Taxes) Vakil Ahmed Khan would convene a meeting on the ITIS system in Karachi on February 6 for finalising mechanism to start the system in Karachi, which would be solely used for broadening of tax-base.

The database of Karachi residents is in place has been compiled, and the system will help in effective utilisation of data for discovering new taxpayers.

At present, the system is operating at Lahore, which would be soon replicated in all other major cities like Islamabad and Peshawar after Karachi.

Sources said the basic reason for devising such computerised system is to identify and bring more people into the tax-net.

The tracking system would help us in identifying those, who are liable to file tax returns. However, the CBR has no intention to target any person or cause harassment among the people. Only in exceptional cases, the CBR could ask for source of income.

They said the CBR will use the data gathered through both internal/external sources, including national tax numbers (NTNs), motor registration authority, tax return data, utility agencies, tax payment receipts, PTCL/mobile phone data, and survey data.

At the same time, the CBR has taken all necessary precautions that the data could not be used for black-mailing any person as only Inspecting Additional Commissioners (IACs) would have access to the information for specific use, the sources said, adding once the person has got NTN number, the CBR would not further utilise information available with the ITIS regarding any taxpayer.

They said the system would not be utilised to increase tax collection, but it only be used for broadening of tax-base, adding the tax would automatically come as a consequence expanded tax-base.

The tracking system will not be used for penalising people, while an environment would be created to encourage voluntary compliance, they said.

Sources said the CBR will issue polite informal letters to prospective taxpayers to get their NTN, adding the CBR, however, will not issue statutory notices to them, if the person has NTN number, then he could simply write to department that he already possesses NTN.

Otherwise, the CBR would dispatch the NTN form to the person for getting a new tax number, they said.

In this connection, the CBR has already started writing informal letters to the persons identified through ITIS in Lahore and Karachi.

Under ITIS, the CBR has enough data, the additional data would be taken into account only after utilisation of existing data, they said, adding the CBR is stressing utilisation of data instead of collecting more and more information.

Sources said ITIS would not categorise people, adding any person whether he is parliamentarians, doctor, engineer or belonging to any other profession, will be dealt equally under the tracking system.

The crux is that anyone who is obliged to file return should have to file tax return, sources added.

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