FBR envisions expanding sales tax net to 400,000 people in three years

Official says FBR will soon bring 4,000 leading stores of different brands into the tax net

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has set a target to increase sales tax base up to 400,000 people in the next three years in order to boost revenue collection and ensure documentation of economy.

“Around 250,000 people are registered with FBR’s sales tax net, but only 41,000 were paying the said tax,” said FBR Inland and Revenue (Policy) Member Dr Hamid Ateeq Sarwar during the launch of digital app ‘Tax Assan’. He was accompanied by FBR Information Technology (IT) Member Mehmood Aslam.

Dr Hamid Ateeq said that the FBR could improve the sales tax figures by ensuring collection from prominent manufacturing and retailers.

“We already have 100pc coverage from the import sector and the board has been working on manufacturing and potential retail sector to increase its sales tax base,” he added.

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Dr Ateeq said the FBR would strive to bring 4,000 leading stores of different brands, including the clothes and shoes, into the tax net.

Highlighting the main features of the digital app, the senior FBR official the app was being introduced to improve the taxation system and to facilitate the taxpayers in line with international standards. “The app offers 5pc on-the-spot payback facility to customers at retail shops.”

He said through this app, the customers would automatically be informed about the sales tax deduction by FBR, adding that the app would also facilitate the customers with regard to the information on registered shops and brands.

Dr Ateeq said that the automation process in the FBR has already started while short, medium and long-term strategies have been evolved to expand its outreach to all departments, including sales tax, income tax, customs duty and federal excise duties.

He said the FBR’s objective was to bring about automation in about 60pc of its operations, adding that automation of state institutions was among the top priorities of the government.

He said that around 100,000 people have been issued notices on the basis of data provided by different banks.

Replying to a question, the FBR official said that the department had not levied any tax on books, registers, copies and other stationery items of schoolchildren. “People must inform the FBR about those selling expensive stationery items.”

Meanwhile, in his presentation on the app, FBR IT Member Mehmood Aslam said the government had introduced automation in FBR so that its system could be modernised and simplified.

“We are working in line with the vision of the government i.e to evolve an integrated automation system to address the complaints of taxpayers,” he added.

Aslam said the ‘Tax Assan’ App would facilitate new tax filers in registering their applications, after which they would receive their sales tax registration numbers.

He said that after registrations for STN, the filers must go through biometric verification to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) within 30 days otherwise STN registration would become invalid.

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