The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in Pakistan has issued a stern warning to non-filers, signaling potential repercussions such as the suspension of bank accounts and travel bans. Muhammad Asif, Chief of Broadening the Tax Base (BTB), underscored the urgency for non-filers to register with the nearest tax office, emphasizing that failure to do so could result in penalties, fines, utility disconnection, and, in extreme cases, restrictions on movement through motorways and international travel.
Pakistan, with a population of 240 million, is grappling with a narrow tax base of approximately 5.2 million people. This limited tax base contributes to challenges such as widespread tax evasion, a low tax-to-GDP ratio, and insufficient revenue generation. These issues, in turn, impact the funding available for critical public services and essential socio-economic development initiatives.
To address these challenges, the FBR has initiated a national drive to broaden the tax base. During the current year, the FBR aims to add an estimated 1.5 million new taxpayers through its comprehensive initiative. The focus is on encouraging eligible individuals, particularly those earning taxable income, to register with the tax system and file their income tax returns.
The Chief of BTB, Muhammad Asif, highlighted the pressing need to strengthen the nation’s financial foundation by expanding the tax base. He noted that the FBR, through its field formations across the country, is conducting surveys and collecting information about businesses and commercial activities. This information will soon be made available on the FBR’s website.
As part of its strategy, the FBR has utilized third-party data acquisition to gather information on financial transactions. This data is accessible on the FBR’s website under the banner “MALOMAAT.” The public is encouraged to register through a straightforward process and review various transactions undertaken in recent years. The FBR asserts that it possesses data on almost all eligible individuals required to file a tax return.
The FBR’s warning underscores the consequences of non-compliance, and it is anticipated that the initiative will bring many non-filers into the tax net. Individuals are encouraged to take advantage of the available time, visit their nearest tax office, and complete the registration process to avoid potential penalties and restrictions.
In summary, the FBR’s initiative represents a concerted effort to address tax-related challenges, increase compliance, and strengthen the country’s fiscal landscape. The success of the drive will likely have a positive impact on revenue generation and enable more effective support for essential public services and developmental initiatives.