Digitization of tax system Govt’s top priority: PM

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the immediate inclusion of those non-filers, who have the ability to pay taxes but do not submit returns, to the tax net. Chairing a review meeting on Digitization and Reforms of FBR in Islamabad today, he also instructed to immediately abolish the discretionary powers of Customs appraisers. Shehbaz Sharif advised the Chairman FBR to implement these instructions and submit a compliance report in this regard in 24 hours. He said tax evaders as well as officers and officials will be punished for facilitating the tax evasion. He said those who embezzle the wealth of Pakistani people as well as their facilitators will not be forgiven. However, taxpayers, who fulfill their responsibilities well in time, will be appreciated for their commitment. The Prime Minister further advised the installation of modern scanners of international standards at the seaports, which will ensure transparency in the system and help eliminate corruption. He also sought a comprehensive repo rt regarding the estimation of tax evasion and measures to prevent it. Shehbaz Sharif said digitization of the tax system is the top priority of the government to prevent tax evasion of billions of rupees. He said a dashboard should be set up to have oversight on the progress regarding the digitization of the tax system and reforms. He emphasized the enforcement of the best international system of taxation in Pakistan. He said officers and experts of excellent professional repute should be appointed for the formulation of the tax policy. The Prime Minister also sought a comprehensive action plan with specific goals regarding the digitization and reforms of the Federal Board of Revenue in the next meeting. On the occasion, the Prime Minister was apprised that over 300,000 new taxpayers have submitted their returns in the last few weeks as a result of the government's measures. It was said four thousand companies, involved in under-invoicing and fake sales tax refunds, have been identified and their refunds have been stopped. It was briefed that 4.5 million potential taxpayers have been identified. Source: Radio Pakistan