Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Friday said that the government has fulfilled its promise by publishing tax directory for consecutive third year as number of taxpayers has gone up from 721,000 in 2013, 856,000 in 2014 and 1,074,000 in 2015, reflecting an increase of 353,000 taxpayers during the last three years.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar launched Taxpayers Directory 2015 at the Federal Board of Revenue Headquarters on Friday.
Addressing the launch ceremony, the Finance Minister said that an increase of 48 to 49 percent was witnessed in the overall number of taxpayers during the last three years, as a result of ongoing exercise of broadening the tax base and increase in burden of taxes on non-filers of income tax returns.
Dar said that 120 parliamentarians did not file their returns so he would appeal to them to come forward and discharge their national obligation.
“When these parliamentarians will file their returns, we will update the tax directory,” he added. He pointed out that the most of the parliamentarians have already obtained their National Tax Numbers (NTNs).
He said that the tax to GDP ratio of the country increased from 9.7 percent to around 12.5 percent in last three years and the government seeks to increase it up to 15 percent till end of its tenure.
He appreciated the FBR for achieving 60 percent growth in tax revenues in last three years but reminded that there was no need of complacency.
Pakistan, he said, became fourth country in the world where tax directory of parliamentarians was published. He said the government had fulfilled its promise that it would publish tax directory every year.
We took approval from federal cabinet and fulfil all kind of legal formalities to publish the directory “and today the FBR will upload it,” he remarked.
Following judgement of Supreme Court, we are taking approvals from the federal cabinet. We will file a review petition.
He said that in previous directory record of around 856,000 was published but in this directory record of around 1,074, 000 taxpayers was to be published.
“Everyone can check it, we are committed to restraining the privileges of privileged class as we terminated the special SROs and other privileges and committed to enhancing revenue in the country,” Ishaq Dar said.
“Media used to ask questions about this directory as when it will be published so that they can check the record of parliamentarians and other taxpayers, now everybody can check it,” he added.
Dar congratulated FBR chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan and all staff for achieving their targets and making it possible to publish this directory.
On the issue of property valuation, he said the government has increased the values of immovable properties by 2 to 10 times with an estimated revenue of Rs 100 billion as compared to the existing amount of around Rs 10 billion.
The imposition of withholding tax on non-filers is also yielding very good results in terms of revenue, he said. The federal government has set very ambitious revenue collection target for the FBR for 2016-17 despite withdrawal of exemptions and rescinding of SROs and abolishing concessions to the privileged class.
The ceremony was attended by FBR Chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan, FBR Members, Chief Commissioners, Collectors of Customs and other senior officials and staff of the FBR. -Business Recorder