Tax notices also sent to hospitals all over the country

ISLAMABAD: The country’s top tax machinery has widened the scope of issuing tax notices to the owners of private medical centres, hospitals and doctors. The countrywide tax drive has been initiated to bring maximum professions and sectors into the tax net.

The notices were issued to the heads of hospitals, owners of private hospitals and medical centres across the country to identify all those doctors who did not exist on the tax roll despite earning taxable income.

The number of doctors, including dental surgeons, registered with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council stood at 258,747 till June 30, 2019. “We want to register maximum number of doctors with the income tax department,” a senior tax official told Dawn.

The Regional Tax Office (RTO) Islamabad has initiated a drive to collect information about doctors and 40 hospitals in the federal capital. The notices were issued to these hospitals under Section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance.

“We have issued a letter to PMDC to seek information about these hospitals in Islamabad,” the official said.

These hospitals include Shifa International, Maroof International, Quaid-i-Azam International, Ali Medical, and Kulsoom International.

Similarly, RTO Rawalpindi has also issued 217 notices to private hospitals and doctors to register them with the income tax department. “We will issue more notices in the next few weeks,” an source in the RTO Rawalpindi told Dawn.

The RTO Peshawar has also issued notices to the owner of a medical centre and doctors practicing there. “We have issued around 25 notices directly to doctors practicing in Khattak Medical centre,” an official of RTO Peshawar told Dawn. He said notices were also issued to various medical centres in June 2019.

The RTO Sargodha has so far issued 187 notices to doctors for registration with the income tax department. The notices were issued to 27 doctors in Sargodha, 16 in Mianwali, 10 in Piplan, 42 in Bhakkar, 17 in Mandi Bahauddin, 60 in Jauharabad and 15 in Bhulwal.

In Karachi, the RTO has so far issued notices to 30 hospitals. “This drive will be expanded to other hospitals in the city”, a tax official said.

FBR Chairman Shabbir Zaidi told Dawn that the notices were issued under the Income Iax Ordinance to make earners of taxable incomes file their returns. He said the scope of the notices would be expanded to other professions as well.

The data received from these hospitals will be crossed-matched with withholding statements submitted by the hospitals and consultants who are not filers of tax returns. After the analysis of the data, notices will then be directly issued to these doctors and other employees of the hospitals.

The FBR has already extended the last date for filing of tax returns until Aug 2, 2019 for the tax year 2018.

In the tax year 2018, the number of income tax filers in Pakistan had almost increased by 700,000, taking the total number of filers to 2.154 million. The FBR has projected a target to enhance these numbers to 4m for the tax year 2019.

Under the Income Tax Ordinance, all those people who own a house larger than 500 square yards or a vehicle over 1000cc are bound to file tax returns.

The FBR has already compiled data of 8m to 10m, who own a house larger than 500sq-yd or a vehicle over 1000cc and bank accounts across the country. The data will be used for issuance of notices in several phases in the current fiscal year.

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