Less than 50,000 registered companies file tax returns: FBR chairman

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) honourary chairman Shabbar Zaidi said on Wednesday that less than 50,000 of the 100,000 companies registered with the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) were filing their taxes.

Shabbar Zaidi during a news conference said he had informed the SECP chairman of this, adding that the law states companies had to pay their taxes irrespective of not having an income and being non-operational. “I have spoken the SECP chairman, either he will remove the company or I will remove it,” Zaidi said.

Amnesty for industry

Announcing amnesty for industry, the FBR chairman urged industrialists and manufacturers to take advantage of the Asset Declaration Scheme and clear their past sales tax liabilities by paying just two per cent tax till June 30, 2019, or the law would take its due course after the expiry of the data.

“A special clause has been included in the Asset Declaration Scheme, which was not included in it earlier, which is that if anybody is having sales tax liability he or she may clear these by paying just two per cent tax,” said Shabbar Zaidi. The FBR chairman said currently there were around 341,174 industrial electricity connection and 7000 industrial gas connections, however, compared to this the sales tax registration of industry was just 38,937, which he said was a huge gap. “It is my request to all industrial consumers to take advantage of the scheme before June 30 and maybe it (the scheme) does not remain in the same shape after July 1st, so the people using industrial utility connections should take advantage," the FBR chairman added. Zaidi said that there were possibilities that these industrial consumer connections might include some connections that come under the cotton industry under law, however, added that there was dire need to check this huge difference. “It would be our desire that under the special clause placed in Asset Declaration Scheme, the industries falling in the category pay two per cent to clear past liabilities,” the chairman added. Shabbar Zaidi said that after July 1st, the FBR would make necessary legislation to get these industries and manufacturers registered and would also take actions. He urged the media to sensitize people on the issue so that those avoiding to clear their past sales tax liabilities might realize this gap and get registered with FBR by taking advantage of the Asset Declaration Scheme. Zaidi added that the FBR would try its best to make it voluntary and do not indulge in harassment, as it wanted to create an environment for the businesses. To a question, the FBR Chairman said that there were around 3.1 million commercial consumers, however, added that the strategy on how to get the unregistered consumers to get registered with FBR would be shared with media.

He said that it was high time for those having industrial connections to get registered with FBR and take benefit of the Tax Declaration Scheme.

It is pertinent to mention here that the government last week had announced Asset Declaration Scheme, providing one more opportunity to all Pakistani citizens to declare and legalize undisclosed assets inside and outside the country by paying just four per cent taxes on all assets other than real estate. The scheme would be applicable till June 30, and all Pakistan citizens, other than those holding public offices or their dependents, would be able to take benefit from it. The basic purpose of the scheme was to document the economy and make the dead assets functional to promote the economy by encouraging businessmen to participate in the legal economy.

No change in law for freezing accounts

The FBR chairman dismissed reports that the law pertaining to accounts being frozen had been changed. Shabbar Zaidi said he had received complaints that peoples accounts were being frozen without notices issued. The FBR chairman added that he had issued directives that notices should be issued 24 hours prior.

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