Business community backbone of the economy: FBR

RAWALPINDI: Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha Sunday said businessmen were playing a pivotal role in strengthening the national economy as they were its backbone.

During his visit to the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) here, Tariq said it was their one of the top priorities to increase tax net and pay due respect to traders.

The FBR Chairman said a pilot project had been launched in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to reach out to non-filers and motivate them to become part of the tax net.

“Under the Facilitation and Taxpayer Education (FATE) programme, the FBR acknowledges the laudable role being played by large organizations in reporting the salaries and tax deducted from their employees and requests them to educate and motivate their employees to file their individual income tax returns,” he said.

He said more than 30% of salaried people are not filing. Under the BTB and FATE programme the FBR is reaching out to organizations and issuing notices to non-filers, he added.

He said 495,000 new filers had been added as of date whereas the figure last year was 151,000. “For the first quarter FBR collected 20 percent more revenue against the target and total Rs 27 billion were released as sales tax refunds,” he added.

Tariq Mahmood Pasha said the FBR had clear directions from the prime minister that the burden of taxes should not be increased on the existing taxpayers.

The amendments in law had been made in consultation with the business community to facilitate tax payers and they would continue to receive recommendations from it to further improve the taxation system, he said

He pointed out that it was not possible to move forward without documentation of economy so they had a plan to simplify tax filing system to enable less educated persons to submit tax returns without any help from lawyers.

Speaking on the occasion, RCCI President Zahid Latif Khan said harassing traders on the pretext of collecting taxes must be stopped and the FBR officials should treat them with respect.