Govt committed to transparency, automation in taxation system: Hafeez Shaikh

Govt refunded Rs240bn in FY20, which is double the amount when compared with FY19

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that the present government is continuing with reforms in the tax system so as to make it transparent through automation.

The adviser was addressing a ceremony held in connection with the audit balloting of taxpayers on Friday.

Hafeez Shaikh said that two committees comprising representatives from both the FBR and business community have been constituted to address complaints against FBR and issue of refunds to facilitate the taxpayers.

He said the basic objective of tax collection is to ensure better basic facilities of life like potable water, health, education, and infrastructure.

The adviser said the government wants to make tax collection trouble-free for the people, particularly the business community, adding that no new tax was imposed on the business community in this year’s budget.

He said subsidies were maintained for industry, particularly the export industry, to minimise the cost of doing business.

Shaikh said the government refunded Rs240 billion during the last fiscal year and the amount is double if compared with previous year. He said the system of sales tax on exports has also been computerized and refund can be made in 72 hours by filling a form while sitting home. He said the process of refund of income tax is also being made faster.

The adviser said the government’s policies are aimed at boosting the exports to earn precious foreign exchange.

He said that FBR wants to devise a transparent taxation system through stepping forward to an automatic system for tax payments. “Tax payment system is being automated from today and all related processes are being computerised as well. We do not want unnecessary audits [of taxpayers]. In the past, many audits had been initiated that are still pending to be concluded. Some 14,000 audits had been conducted last year. However, last year’s audits were not completed,” he said.

He said that 10,000 audits will be conducted this year which is below 1 percent as some people are removed from the process. The basic point for making these changes is making a transparent system. “We will try to carry out less audits and its timely completion. On the other hand, we are also making efforts to cut down business expenditures,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, FBR Chairman Muhammad Javed Ghani said that the institution is issuing tax audit and tax directory in accordance with the regulations. He said that the tax auditing system was improved in line with the reforms introduced by the government.

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