ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Thursday said that the federal government would not tolerate tax evaders in any case and the time to come would be very difficult for them.
However, he assured those tax payers who were paying their taxes honestly would be further facilitated and the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) would treat them as a Friendly Board of Revenue.
While addressing a ceremony held in Islamabad to conduct computerized balloting for audit tax year 2015 (income tax, sales tax and Federal Excise Duty), the finance minister said those selected for audit should need not to be worried if they were honest tax payers.
He said due to hard efforts of the government, Pakistan succeeded to become a signatory of the multilateral Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and after becoming the member of OECD, Pakistan could now have access to information about the tax evaders anywhere in the world.
“That is why I am saying that tax evaders cannot run anywhere and ultimately they must have to pay their taxes honestly otherwise they would have to face legal process”, Dar added.
He also directed the FBR officials not to bother the tax payers needlessly and they should not be dealt with heavy handedness, however he asked the FBR not to leave tax evaders in any case.
Similarly he added that the present government also had introduced a new Companies Act, 2016 according to which all the companies holders would be bound to maintain their global assets.
Ishaq Dar said that although the stakeholders were trying their hard to influence politically in order to stop this law but he hoped that very soon this act would be approved and would become a law.
He said under this act, the stakeholders would be given an opportunity to bring their matters in the right directions.
Due to structural reforms and stringent fiscal discipline, the government succeeded in boosting the revenue collection by 60 percent in three years while during the previous government’s tenure the revenue collection was increasing with an average ratio of only 3.38 per cent annually.
“Today Pakistan’s socio economic condition is far better than that it was in 2013 when the country was on the verge of being default”, he remarked.
However, he said that there was a lot to be done in order to bring the country among top 18 countries by 2030s.
“Now the whole focus of the government is on exports lead growth, agriculture and services led economic growth as there is lot of room in these sectors to develop”, he added.
He said now Pakistan would not only come out of energy crisis in 2018 but it would also become an energy surplus country.
“We have brought down the load shedding period from 16-20 hours daily in 2013 to only four hours now and due to a number of energy projects going on in the country”, he added.
Ishaq Dar said this country’s future was bright and every citizen should own it and take part in its development.
He said this year too only 7.5 per cent of total tax payers had been selected for audit and their audit would be conducted transparently.
Earlier, speaking at the occasion, Minister of State for Revenue, Haroon Akhtar Khan said that without audit, self-assessment schemes could not be successful.
He said the balloting was totally computerized and there was no chance of any mismanagement.
The Chairman FBR Nisar Muhammad Khan said in order to promote tax culture and compliance many audit policies were launched in the past but the latest policy that was approved a few days ago had been carefully drafted keeping in mind the wisdom and experience behind policies.
He said the Audit policy, 2016 had proposed a paradigm shift from random ballot to parametric selection and risk based approach.
“This approach would minimize chances of selection of compliant tax payers resulting in increased confidence in the system.”, he said adding this new trend in taxpayers’ audit would not only promote compliance with the existing tax laws but would also generate increased revenues through better declaration for better public spending by the government.
According to results of computerized balloting of audit cases, FBR selected 82,090 cases out of total 1094,507 tax returns for income tax non corporate taxpayers.
Similarly, for sales tax non corporate 7,976 cases were selected while for sales tax corporate taxpayers, 986 cases for audit were selected and 30 cases were selected for audit from Federal Excise Duty (corporate sector) and 21 cases were selected for FED non corporate sector.