Tarin advises tax-avoiders to pay taxes before govt reaches them

“I assure the nation that change is taking place, we are making use of technology and will reach all taxpayers,” he said while addressing the launching ceremony of Sales Tax Directory by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

ISLAMABAD, Jan 07 (APP): The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin on Friday advised the unregistered potential taxpayers to initiate paying taxes before the government reaches them within a couple of months with documentary evidence of their assets.

“I assure the nation that change is taking place, we are making use of technology and will reach all potential taxpayers,” he said while addressing the launching ceremony of National Sales Tax Returns (NSTR), organized by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

He said that with the help of technology, the government would reach to all those, who have taxable assets but were not paying taxes adding that there was now no need to issues notices as the government was already possessing date of millions of taxpayers.

He said, the authorities would reach the tax evaders and provide them the tax returns with an opportunity to prove it wrong by consulting panel of auditors or pay the due taxes.

“We will not harass, we will tell them what they possess. If they don’t pay, then the law would take its own course,” he added. Meanwhile, the minister congratulated federal and provincial revenue divisions for coming on a single platform and making payment of revenues easy for taxpayers.

He said, since sales tax on goods was federal domain and sales tax on services was coming under provinces, hence it was creating hardships for taxpayers.

Now, under the single platform, the taxpayers would be facilitated, adding that in previous system, if a company was operating in all the provinces, it had to deal with around seven agencies for filing returns, with chances of errors.

However, now they would be required to file single tax under the new system.

He said that the government was also working on further harmonization of system to facilitate taxpayers and expressed the hope that ease in tax deposit system would help enhance revenues.

The minister said that three was no other way, if the country had to progress and prosper, there is need to enhance revenue collection.

He cited example of Germany where he said, there was no representation without taxation.

He lamented that there were only 3 million taxpayers out of 220 million population in the country.

He said, out of around Rs18 trillion retail sales, only Rs 3 to Rs 4 trillion were captured and Rs14 million sales are still missing from the tax system.

Speaking at the occasion, Chairman FBR Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmad said that currently taxpayers were facing different issues due to multiple sales tax registration and payments to 07 different tax agencies, which was enhancing the compliance cost as well enhancing the chance of errors.

Prior the launching the NSTR there was no automatic system among these agencies for sharing tax data, he said adding that the absence of a solution based on technology was creating un-ending disputes and litigation, besides delaying in refunds and adjustments.

He informed that FBR had initiated the NSTR aimed at to development of national income tax returns, constituting inter-agency forum to resolve any issue and simplification of NSTR to further improve the system as well as leveraging data to broaden tax base for enhancing tax to GDP ratio upto 15% over the short term.

He further said that the initiative would also help in developing single national sales tax registration profiling and automatic compliance management system, besides developing automatic input credit and refund verification as well as distribution of due taxes amongst all revenue collecting authorities.

Dr Muhammad Ashfaq further said that the development of NSTR system would also help in promoting standardization of taxability and tax rated, besides minimizing human interaction and promoting national harmony and cohesion.

He said that it would also help to create ease of doing business and enforcement of tax compliance.