KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has asked banks to furnish details of accountholders who have not been biometrically verified as the government is set to reinforce action against owners of Benami assets, the body’s chairman said on Wednesday.
FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi said the revenue body asked banks to provide details of accountholders who have not been biometrically verified. Bank accountholders were asked to get biometric verification till June 30, 2019 to avoid temporary suspension of their accounts.
Zaidi said the government would expedite action against owners of Benami assets to generate revenue for national exchequer despite all hurdles in spotting the money trail.
“The Prime Minister (Imran Khan) issued clear instructions to the tax authorities to take harsh measures against holders of Benami assets,” he said, addressing a seminar organised by the Management Association of Pakistan. “Tracking of Benami assets is not easy, but the tax authorities have detected many cases, which are currently before court of law.” FBR chief said efforts to broaden the tax base yielded results as population of return filers increased beyond the 2.5 million mark. “In order to further increase the number of return filers, the tax authorities are making procedure for filing of annual returns simple.”
Zaidi said software has been launched on trial basis to monitor sales and purchase. “The software will help the authorities to plug leakages in sales tax and federal excise duty (collection).” FBR chairman further said one-page simple return form has been prepared to increase sales tax registration.
About the retailers and small traders, he said the FBR proposed two separate schemes for such categories of taxpayers. Condition of computerised national identity card for purchase of products beyond Rs50,000 has been deferred till September 30. “From October 2019 whoever makes purchases above Rs50,000 will have to provide his/her CNIC.”
Zaidi said the FBR is trying to bring all taxable income into the tax net. Notices have been issued to all the sectors of the economy for tax compliance. He rejected an impression that the FBR is taking coercive action against potential taxpayers. “All actions were taken under the tax laws.” The FBR chairman said in the past little efforts were done to broaden tax base and for tax reforms.
“Now the direction for tax reforms is clear,” he added. “Billions of dollars were stashed away abroad due to past wrong policies.”
Zaidi said tax revenue is an economic driver. “It is time to generate revenue for the economy to make it better for our future,” he added. FBR chairman said unnecessary fears have been created against tax authorities.
He said return filers has been allowed to open foreign currency accounts. The tax system is being made simpler to facilitate the nation. He urged the people to take receipts of their purchases to help tax authorities broaden the tax net.