Senate Panel Grills FBR Over Release of Tax Directory of Parliamentarians


Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed, on Tuesday, said that the release of the Tax Directory of the Parliamentarians was meant only to ensure transparency.

Responding to a question raised by Senator Farooq H. Naek during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Ashfaq said FBR had released the Tax Directory of the fiscal year 2019 this year, while it would also release the Tax Directory of FY21 in the coming days. He said FBR had released the Tax Directory after the approval of the federal cabinet.

Criticizing the release of the Directory by FBR, Senator Farooq Naek said that the reputation of many respected parliamentarians had been damaged due to the Directory. He said incumbent Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, Yousaf Raza Gillani (Opposition Leader in Senate), Senator Taj Haider, and Palwasha Khan were not Senators in 2019, but their names had also been included in the Tax Directory. “How did FBR include their names?”, asked Farooq Naek while addressing Chairman FBR.

The Chairman FBR said that there might be errors from a single person, but the motive of releasing the Tax Directory was only to bring transparency. “We sent SMS to all parliamentarians before releasing the Directory. Many of them responded and made corrections to the tax records,” he explained and added that FBR considered the available record as correct of those who did not respond.

Senator Naek asked if the transparency was only for the parliamentarian. He asked, “What about the NAB and others?”

Dr. Ahmed said these were the fragmented taxes, adding, “Some taxes are collected by the provinces. Some provinces don’t share data with us.”

Senator Musaddiq Malik of Pakistan Muslim League-N said that FBR should have used a prudent way to confirm the tax records. “They may have sent a letter to us rather [than] sending an SMS.”

Senator Mohsin Aziz of the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf supported the Chairman FBR, saying that FBR had given the names of Senators in the Tax Directory who were not Senators in 2019. The release of Tax Directory is not to malign anyone, he emphasized.

The Chair Senator Talha Mahmood said that corporate and other taxes were not shown in the Directory and only individual taxes were included, so FBR should clear the ambiguity.

The meeting was also attended by Senators Sherry Rehman, Saleem Mandviwale, Saadia Abbasi, Zeeshan Khanzada, Faisal Saleem Rehman, and Dilawar Khan.

Source: Pro Pakistani