Pakistan registers all-time high of 3m active tax filers

Pakistan’s number of active taxpayers crossed three million for the first time in the country’s history, according to data released by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Monday.

The weekly updated active taxpayers list (ATL) showed that the number of return filers for the tax year 2019 were at 3,000,453 on the basis of return filed up to December 20. Previously, the highest returns filing was recorded at 2.85 million for the tax year 2018 as per taxpayers’ directory issued by the FBR in October.

FBR had gathered information of about 7.4 million taxpayers whose withholding tax was deducted, but they failed to file their returns as required under the law.

According to a report by The News that quoted an official at the Regional Tax Office (RTO), ATL for the tax year 2019 is applicable till February 28. Therefore, the FBR will get additional returns for the year. The tax offices issued notices to individuals required to file their returns for the tax year 2019 on the basis of third party information.

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The number of return filers by February 29 for tax year 2019 was 2.53 million as per ATL issued on March 1. It means the FBR added 470,000 more returns since then. The number of income tax returns was increasing despite coronavirus-led lockdown during March – June this year.

The date for filing of income tax returns for the tax year 2020 was December 8, which was not extended. The FBR received 1.8 million returns for the tax year 2020 up to the due date. However, another 300,000 taxpayers applied for a date extension on the last date. Therefore, the number of return filers for tax year would reach 2.1 million.

The number of income tax returns for the tax year 2020 is likely to increase further as the ATL for the year will publish on March 1 and will remain applicable till February 28, 2022.

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