CBR develops ITTT in two zones to broaden tax net

LAHORE (December 05 2003): Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has created two full-fledged zones, one each in Lahore and Karachi in a bid to tap new taxpayers for broadening the tax net through utilisation of information technology.

“For this purpose, CBR has developed a software – 'Integrated Tax Information Trekker' (ITTT) having data of electricity consumers, mobile telephone users, automobile owners and others,” said Member Direct Taxes, CBR, Vakil Ahmed Khan while addressing the members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) here on Thursday.

He said that a commissioner would head each zone, and no official will be allowed to establish direct contact with the people. Rather the programme would itself generate a letter to owners of automobiles or people paying high amount of utility bills, requiring information about their registration with the tax department.

'If the answer would not be satisfying, only then a notice would be served, asking for getting registered with the department or filing a return', he said.

Vakil said that he himself had foreseen registration of 300,000 new taxpayers in the current fiscal by utilising this mode of communication.

“People registered with CBR are 1.72 million but this year only one million people are expected to file their returns. Now the department has to tap those 0.7 million people for not filing their returns,” he added.

He was of the view that the CBR's restructuring programme currently going on is not aimed at increasing revenue by enhancing the number of taxes or rate of tax, rather the focus is on broadening the tax net.

He said that there were 3.5 million users of landline telephones, 3.6 million users of electricity, and 1.1 million mobile phone users, who according to an estimate would soon cross 2.0 million mark. Production of motorcars is going to be more than 80,000 this year.

All this depicts economic activity but it is not being reflected in the number of people registered with the income tax department, he said.

At present 'Integrated Tax Information Trekker' does not include data of landline users but CBR has received data from PTCL too, which would be fed in it.

This exercise would help identify such a group or sector through which tax net could be broadened.

He further stated that a Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU) already functioning in Karachi would also start working in Lahore by middle of next year.

Highlighting the rationale of this LTU, he said that instead of old working of the CBR, this unit has four core units including taxpayer service center (responsible for accepting and processing of returns), audit unit (responsible for audit on cases pointed out by the CBR), enforcement unit (responsible to enforce the orders or collect taxes) and legal unit (to represent department at legal level).

He said that these have been designed to purge activity from any bias of the tax officials, as earlier one officer was performing some 14 functions including receipt of return, processing, auditing, taxing and others.

He said that designs have been received from Nespak for the unit to be set up at Lahore.

An official of the data unit set up by the CBR also gave a demonstration of the “Integrated Tax Information Trekker”.

Earlier, the LCCI Chief, Mian Anjum Nisar read out the welcome address and raised different problems faced by the business community. Vice-President, Shahzad Ali Malik presented vote of thanks.

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