Business community urges to bring 3.5 million non-filers into the tax net

ISLAMABAD: The business community here on Tuesday urged the government to bring some 3.5 million non-tax filers into the tax net, which were identified by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and were registered with it to promote tax culture in the country.
The initiative would help in broadening the tax base instead of overburdening the existing taxpayers. said Senior Vice President (SVP) SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik in a statement here today.
He said that 3.5 million non-tax filers were identified by the FBR and bringing them into the tax net would help to bridge the fiscal gap and enhance the developmental expenditures for the social economic uplift of the country.
He said Pakistan needed $15-16 billion worth of support to avoid IMF loan but the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and bilateral credit from a consortium of donors would raise more than half
$9 billion.
“We will be left with a shortfall of around $7-8 billion to bridge either through grants and assistance from friendly countries or from the IMF,” he said, adding that the country’s economy was, of course, passing through a difficult period.
He said, the entire business community will fully support the Prime Minister Imran Khan to help strengthen the bleak economy on a sound footing.
He said comprehensive tax reform is one such issue on which there is a consensus among all the political parties. It is, thus, imperative that in the first 100-day, this issue is given the top priority.
The Parliament must debate the various options available for meaningful and productive tax reforms and then go for necessary changes and their implementation, he added.
He said Pakistan will have to increase collection at all levels of governments to bridge fiscal deficit that reached the level of 6.8 percent of GDP (Rs2.3 trillion) for the fiscal year 2017-18.
The new federal and provincial governments must immediately prepare finance bills to tax the rich and mighty through an alternate minimum tax of 2.5% of net worth and property tax according to the size of the house/office.
The cumbersome tax returns system should be simplified. Helpdesk of Punjab Revenue Authority should be established, it suggested. Separate accounts for sales and income tax returns should also be set up, he added.
He further proposed that the federal and provincial tax systems should be harmonized, double taxation should be discouraged, and direct taxes should be encouraged instead of the indirect tax system,” he added.
He stressed the urgent need for introducing-pro poor, business-friendly, export and growth-oriented monetary policies to help strengthen the national economy on sound footings besides restoring the confidence of foreign and local investors.

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