New FBR Chairman urged to focus on enhancing tax compliance

ISLAMABAD, May 14 (APP):The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Tuesday lauded the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Syed Shabbar Zaidi from private sector as Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as he was a tax expert and was well-versed with the issues of taxpayers.

However, the new FBR Chief should avoid imposing any new taxes or increasing tax rates in the forthcoming budget and instead should focus on enhancing the tax compliance that was the way forward to realize the actual tax potential of the country, President ICCI Ahmed Hassan Moughal said in a statement.

He said that World Bank’s document on “Pakistan Revenue Mobilization Project” has highlighted that Pakistan has substantial potential to increase tax receipts without imposing new taxes or increasing their rates.

The country’s tax revenue potential would reach 26 per cent of GDP, if tax compliance were to be raised to 75 per cent, which was a realistic level of compliance for it.

He said that new budget should come up with good incentives for promoting tax compliance and should not propose imposition of new taxes or increasing existing tax rates.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to set tax revenue target of over Rs 5 trillion which could be easily achieved by increasing tax compliance.”

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that new FBR Chief soon after assuming charge issued directions that no bank account of any taxpayer should be attached without giving at least 24-hour prior intimation and his approval, which was a laudable initiative.

He said that such good initiatives would end the element of harassment in business community and would restore their confidence on the tax department.

The ICCI President said that Pakistan’s prevailing tax system was very complicated due to which it was promoting informal economy instead of contributing towards tax revenue.

He urged that Chairman FBR should end all coercive tactics of FBR against taxpayers and bring drastic reforms in his organization that should facilitate the growth of business activities and encourage tax culture in the country.

He said that Pakistan’s economic stability and growth was dependent on increasing tax revenue for which a business friendly taxation system was the key requirement and hoped that new FBR Chief would take all possible measures to achieve this goal.