FBR, others asked to provide details of 700 Pakistanis Pandora Papers

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Ijaz Kakakhel

Islamabad

Legislators of the Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to provide complete details of 700 Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers, who own offshore companies by Oct 22 this year. This is a serious issue and required proper investigation, where the targeted people may not be involved in money drain from the country and purchase of properties abroad.

The FBR, ministry of finance and other stakeholders would brief the Senate body. These discussions were made in Senate Standing Committee on Finance, which held today in parliament house while Senator Talha Mehmood was on chair.

Members of the committee Sherry Rehmand told the chairman of committee that proper discussions should be made over the involvement of some Pakistan, who mostly purchase properties abroad mainly on illegal money. Therefore, she suggested that a detail meeting over it should be held to dig out the realities.

Through another agenda item, Chairman of the committee Senator Talha Mehmood informed the committee that the FBR served nearly 13 million tax notices to non-filers in three years but just one out of every ten of them cared to respond, showing weakened writ of the tax machinery and also its highhandedness.

From fiscal year 2018-19 to 2020-21, the FBR served 12.8 million tax notices to non-filers of the income tax returns.

However, only 1.31 million people filed their returns, showing compliance level of just 10.3% as against total notices served in three years. The FBR had raised Rs64.3 billion tax demand in these 12.8 million cases. However, it could recover just Rs2.6 billion, which was a mere 4% of the tax demand.
The committee expressed serious reservations on sending nearly 13 million tax notices. It termed the FBR’s drive as an attempt to harass taxpayers and mint money from them.

Chairman of the committee Talha Mehmood demanded that the tax officers who sent wrong notices should be put behind the bars. Why notices were issued only June 2021 in haste and the business community was harassed.

Those officials of FBR who created just liability in June 2021, their footage were existed. Such decisions badly affect the business environment which already badly affected by Covid-19, the chairman maintained. Mostly, the chairman committee said that business community went to courts to defend their selves and the FBR received nothing.

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