Govt constitutes subgroup in EAC to double tax collection

The sub-group has been assigned to formulate a tax policy by end of October

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ISLAMABAD: A subgroup of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) has been assigned by the government to double revenue collection of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to Rs8 trillion from Rs4.4 trillion in the current financial year without providing any deadline.

A subgroup of the EAC has been established to formulate a strategy for increasing tax collection, reports The News.

This subgroup will contain renowned economists Sakib Sherani, Farrukh Iqbal, Asad Zaman, Naved Hamid and Dr Ijaz Nabi as convener.

The sub-group has been assigned to formulate a tax policy by end of October and if the newly installed government shows unwillingness in separating fiscal policy from tax administration, it would be unable to attain its aim of reforming the tax administration.

All previous attempts to reform and transform the FBR have ended in failure, notwithstanding the use of multimillion dollars of loans from the World Bank (WB) and grants from the Department for International Development.

During the first meeting of the EAC, the government had pledged to constitute working groups for current account, debt and fiscal.

Moreover, tax experts advised the newly installed government to setup a fiscal/tax policy board for making a feasible tax policy for FBR and limit its operations to revenue collection and tax administration only.

And experts stated tax authorities don’t prepare the fiscal policy in most of the tax administration matters.

The suggested tax/fiscal policy board should have an independent setup, including its office & building, officials, members and be autonomous with no interference of the FBR, said the tax experts.

Also, a tax expert stated to make the working of the tax machinery efficient, it was important to separate the matters of tax policy from tax administration.

“And, therefore there is a conflict of interest. The tax policy should be framed by an independent fiscal/tax policy board for the FBR and it should be the duty of the FBR to implement the policy,” said the tax expert.