Federal Finance and Revenue Minister Shaukat Tarin on Friday advised potential unregistered taxpayers to start paying taxes before the government reaches them in a few months with documentary evidence of their assets.
“I assure the nation that change is happening, that we are using technology and will reach out to all potential taxpayers,” he said at the Federal Board of Revenue’s Sales Tax Directory launch ceremony ( FBR).
He said that with the help of technology, the government would reach anyone who has taxable assets but does not pay taxes, adding that there is no longer a need to issue opinions as the government has already the data of millions of taxpayers.
He said authorities would reach out to tax evaders and provide them with the tax returns with the option of proving them wrong by consulting a panel of auditors or paying the taxes owed.
“We don’t harass, we’ll tell them what they have. If they don’t pay, the law would take its own course, ”he added.
Meanwhile, the minister praised the federal and provincial tax divisions for coming to a single platform and making the payment of income easier for taxpayers. He said that since the sales tax on goods was federal and the sales tax on services was provincial, it created difficulties for taxpayers.
“Now, under the single platform, taxpayers would be made easier, adding that in the previous system, if a company operated in all provinces, it had to deal with around seven agencies for filing returns, with the risk of errors. . However, they would now be required to report a single tax under the new system.
He said the government was also working on further harmonization of a system to facilitate taxpayers and expressed hope that easing the tax filing system would help increase income.
The minister said there was no other way, if the country was to progress and prosper, there was a need to improve revenue collection. He cited an example from Germany where he said there was no representation without taxation.
He lamented that there are only 3 million taxpayers out of 220 million of the country’s population. He said that out of around Rs 18 trillion in retail sales, only Rs 3 trillion to Rs 4 trillion has been captured and that sales of the tax system are still 14 million rupees short.