EM Zee Rifat
Preparations for new federal budget for financial year 2017-18 are already underway at the appropriate level by the Ministries concerned and will hopefully be finalized towards the end of May when it will be approved by the country’s highest economic body, National Economic Council (NEC). Taxes collection by the Federal Board of Revenue remains one of the main sources of financing of the federal budget besides other sources of funding. According to the reports appearing in the newspapers quite frequently these days, the FBR officials are making concerted efforts to collect as much taxes as possible during last few weeks left.
It is a matter of record that FBR officials remain bit slow in tax collection when the new financial year gets underway and take their time to familiarize with new and continued taxation measures announced with the new federal budget. When it was reported sometime back that the FBR has fallen short of tax collection targets for first eight months i.e. July 2016 to February 2017, there was some criticism about FBR performance here and there.
It is good to note that the total collection by FBR during first nine months of the financial year 2016-17 has reached to Rs 2258 billion which is said to be unprecedented in FBR history. While lauding the efforts of FBR in ensuring maximum tax collection, it will not be out of place here to ask the federal government to provide some relief to the people by keeping the taxes burden to the barest minimum possible. Obviously, there must be some taxes which are avoidable and can be dropped. People with meagre resources and pensioners are pinning their hopes on direction which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already given to all federal ministries concerned to ensure federal budget 2017-18 is pro-people and poor friendly. Hopefully, this quite timely and appreciable direction of prime minister will be kept uppermost in mind by everyone while finalizing tax proposals for new federal budget.