Central Board of Revenue carving out strategy to broaden tax net

KARACHI (February 09 2003) : The Central Board of Revenue (CBR), which is incurring Rs 6 billion deficit in the direct taxes, has achieved its first seven-months revenue target of Rs 238 billion set for the current fiscal year.

However, this loss in the direct taxes has been compensated by the improvement showed in the indirect taxes, which recorded an increase of Rs 9 billion in the corresponding period of the current financial year.

The direct taxes collection for the first-seven months of the previous fiscal year stood at Rs 76 billion, restricted only to Rs 70 billion for the same corresponding period of the current fiscal year.

Whereas the reduction in the Customs duty drawback, rebate and refund pushed down the expenses from previous Rs 20.2 billion to present Rs 11.2 billion, registering a saving of Rs 9 billion for the same corresponding period of this financial year.

Member (Direct Taxes), CBR, Vakil Ahmed Khan said this during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Saturday.

Regarding the broadening of the existing tax net, he said, the situation was not very encouraging on this front and the CBR has continuously trying to lessen tax burden on its taxpayers by bringing new taxpayers into the net.

He claimed presently, only 132,000 sales taxpayers were registered with the CBR, while only 1,100,000 people pay income tax out of which some 450,000 belong to the salaried class.

He said that in order to broaden the net the CBR was carving out an effective strategy, which would be based on the information provided by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

He said, “We have contacted Wapda in this connection and asked it to furnish us with the details of the total number of commercial electricity connections given to the citizens to bring them into the tax net.

He also said that most of the tax returns he received were devoid of National Tax Number (NTN) and advised the members of the KCCI and other chambers to persuade their member trade unions and associations to get their NTN numbers at the earliest as no tax refund claim would be entertained without the NTN number.

He urged upon the people, especially the traders and business community to voluntarily comply to their national obligation and contribute to the national exchequer and bluntly rejected the concerns of the chamber raised by KCCI Taxation Sub-committee Chairman Saqib Naseem pertaining to deduction of income tax on the sales tax, advance ruling, section 113 and 136, disposal of appeal by the appellate tribunal in case of non-appearance and other such issues.

Vakil said that most of the declarations made in the tax returns were wrong and misleading, adding that unless there was a realistic improvement in tax declaration, the current level of tax rates would not be revised downward.

However, at the same time he assured the KCCI members that no self-assessment form would be subject to scrutiny or revision unless their was any concrete evidence of under-assessment found.

Earlier, KCCI President Shaukat Iqbal drew the attention of the CBR delegation towards the problems confronted by the business community.

The prominent among others who were also present included member Central Excise, CBR, Naseer Ahmed, KCCI Senior Vice President Mohammad Saleem Kapadia, KCCI Vice President Nasir M. Chandna and regional commissioners of the CBR.

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