Tarin’s clarification

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AS the business community is protesting against some provisions of the new ordinance aimed at expanding the tax net, Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin has clarified that victimization was definitely not the purpose of the ordinance as it was purely for non-filers and under-filers who filed zero tax.

In an interaction with members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he expressed sorrow that out of the total of 2.9 million filers, one million are those who file tax returns and show zero taxable income.

The concerns being expressed by the business community over the term ‘under-filers’ need to be looked into favourably as this opens room for harassment and corruption.

Their logic that instead of putting pressure on those who pay taxes, the focus should be on non-filers and tax evaders is plausible.

However, the Minister too has a point when he says about one million filers show zero taxable income, which means they have become filers just to avoid paying withholding tax on increased rates and avail of other benefits that the Government has already announced for filers.

The Government would be fully justified to carry out audits and scrutinize income sources of such citizens and the business community should cooperate in this regard.

The sincerity of the Government is evident from the generous offer of the Finance Minister to the business community to come to Islamabad and discuss their reservations in a frank manner in the presence of the Prime Minister so that decisions are taken there and then.

The FBR has already shown flexibility in its attitude by giving more time to the corporate taxpayers to switch over to digital mode of payments, which speaks volumes about its facilitative posture.

 

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