TAKING a considerate view of the concerns being expressed by the business community over issuance of tax notices, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has held out an assurance that all currently issued notices will be withdrawn to put an end to the harassment and corruption.
During his visit to the office of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) in Karachi, he said from now onwards, notices will be issued by third party auditors after due diligence.
Tax collection has always been a challenge in Pakistan where a majority is totally unwilling to pay any tax while others do not pay their due taxes and as a result the country has to depend more on external clutches.
Donors legitimately attach stringent conditions to the aid that comes from the tax-payers’ money in those countries.
Under these circumstances, the successive governments have been striving hard to increase the tax base but unfortunately all such campaigns ended up in burdening the already hard-pressed segments of the society and more incentives for dodgers who are well-connected.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has a clear approach in this regard as he believes in expanding the tax base without burdening those who are paying their taxes honestly.
Tax notices were obviously issued to prospective tax payers or those who did not pay their due taxes but a hue and cry was raised on the pretext of harassment and corruption despite the fact that there was least physical contact between the tax-payers and the taxman.
However, now that the Minister has responded to their demand in a sympathetic manner, it is the responsibility of the business community to review its own behaviour and start paying taxes as per true income.
There are reasons to believe that there would be no need to impose new or additional taxes if all those who have the capacity to pay, start paying their due taxes honestly.
Tarin also pointed out that there are only two taxes in the world: income tax and consumption tax, there is no third tax adding that we have invented the rest of the taxes.
Why is this model not being replicated in Pakistan? We hope the Minister, whose policy helped people get rid of a multitude of withholding taxes, would take concrete steps for the introduction of this tax system in Pakistan as well.