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Utility consumers paying withholding tax to get NTN

KARACHI (August 27 2003) : The Regional Commissioner, Income Tax (RCIT), has decided to issue the National Tax Number (NTM) to the consumers of electricity, gas and telephone paying withholding tax on monthly bills.

The move is not only aimed at broadening the tax net, but will also enable them to enjoy the benefits of paying tax.

The holders of NTN would not only enjoy all the benefits available to the taxpayers, but would also protect them from unscrupulous tax inspectors.

Giving details of the drive, the Regional Commissioner of Income Tax, Southern Region, S.M. Athar, said on Tuesday that bringing the large number of utility consumers under the tax net would be through facilitation and not by coercion.

He said that a simple method to enlist these taxpayers could have been through compulsory registration, but the department had opted for voluntary registration of the utility consumers, requesting them to have an NTN to join the comity of respectable taxpayers.

The RCIT further said that the addresses of the utility consumers, paying tax on their bills, had been obtained from the concerned utility and the NTN application forms were being despatched, requesting them to fill the form and mail it to the office of the RCIT in a pre-postage paid envelop contained in the big envelop.

“Those who already have the NTN would be required to inform the department through the same envelop about his NTN number and other details,” he said, adding those completing the formalities would get an NTN at their residence within 24 hours through courier.

The letter addressed to the utility consumers said that the Income Tax Department had come to know from its records that “you are paying withholding tax through deduction on utility bills, but you do not enjoy the status of a taxpayer and the consequent benefits because you do not have an NTN.

“Hence the NTN application form is being despatched to you. You are requested to fill the form and send it to the department in the pre-postage envelope to the department along with an attested copy of National Identify Card (NIC),” it said.

Athar pointed out that the vigorous drive for registration of taxpayers had been started to mark 2003, which was observed as the year of Broadening of Tax Base.

The RCIT said the department had opened an NTN centre at Sukkur to help the local people get the certificate in their town.

“There is very good response from the local businessmen, who had earlier come all the way to Karachi to get the NTN. There is a plan to open a similar centre at Hyderabad,” he added.

Athar pointed out that the department was using the information technology to the maximum to track the tax evaders, who were not enlisted anywhere.

These people included property dealers, spot dealers of vehicles and commission agents, who did not have regular office, he said.

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