Restoring taxpayers’ confidence


PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday held an interactive session with officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and tasked them with restoring the faith of taxpayers in the revenue body. Addressing the officials at his office, Prime Minister Imran said that the core issue behind insufficient tax collection in the country is that people don’t trust the FBR.
The Prime Minister has asked the FBR officers to submit their recommendations on how the trust deficit between traders and the FBR can be bridged and it would be seen what finally emerges. Imran Khan said that traders’ bodies always ask him to implement a fixed-tax regime as they don’t want the FBR to deal with them. Here we beg to differ with the PM as the demand for fixed tax is not because of any fear of having contacts with FBR but only because some members of the business community are not willing to pay their due taxes. Those who are earning millions would go scot free after paying a token tax while fixed income groups are paying more than what they pay in the name of tax. Majority of traders is non-filers and they have been opposing all initiatives aimed at documentation of economy as this would expose their real income and the quantum of tax evasion. FBR has already introduced a number of measures to restore confidence of tax-payers and this is evident from automation of the process of return filing, which allows every citizen to provide voluntary information and tax is calculated on the basis of the data fed by the filer. There are, of course, complaints against field staff of FBR, which is not taking action against those who earn handsomely on a daily basis but are not even filers. This aspect needs to be taken care of but there should be no encouragement for tax evasion in the name of restoration of confidence.

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