Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to aggressively follow up its agreement with traders to expand the tax base and work optimally to enroll nearly 20,000 points of sales in the country.
During a visit to FBR House in Islamabad, he asked for timely and full payment of tax refunds and pursue a futuristic work-plan using modern communication tools to achieve organizational targets. He said that robust communication with the public and stakeholders should be at the center of every activity to harness public support for broadening the tax base.
The adviser was briefed by FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi on various revenue collection initiatives and reforms, key challenges, public facilitation and confidence-building measures to boost the revenue growth and resource mobilization. Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch, Special Secretary Omar Hamid Khan and FBR members were also present.
The chairman informed the adviser that FBR had registered 16.3 percent revenue growth by collecting Rs 2,083.2 billion as per provisional figures for the period between July-December 2019, netting Rs 292.3 billion more than the revenue collected during the corresponding period last year. More than 2.168 million tax returns had been received by FBR by December 31, 2019 and at least 600,000 more people were likely to submit their returns in the time extended till end January 2020.
The chairman also dilated on the domestic tax collection which had picked significantly showing 21 per cent growth in domestic income tax, 34 per cent growth in domestic sales tax and 25.6 per cent increase in domestic federal excise duty, raising the share of domestic revenue to Rs 1,172 billion in the overall tax collection so far as against Rs 934.5 billion in the corresponding period last year.
He said that FBR had doubled its focus on the taxpayer facilitation and automation of processes and now all steps of interaction of taxpayers with the department, including registration, issuance of certificates, returning filing, audit and monitoring were fully automated. He said that FBR had given away tax refunds worth Rs 100 billion to the taxpayers so far this year as against Rs 36 billion refunds given last year.
The FBR chairman said that he had appointed five new complaint commissioners for the redress of complaints and by March many of the pending cases would be resolved. He committed to provide results of their sector-wise collection and progress on new initiatives and implementation of reforms to the adviser in the next week.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lauded the FBR chairman and his team for a commendable performance and asked them to redouble their efforts for an optimal revenue collection in view of the current economic condition of the country where the people were looking more towards FBR because each dollar not earned by the revenue authority would have to be borrowed from somewhere else, affecting the future choices of the country.
He emphasized FBR for taking tax facilitation measures particularly its agreement with the traders and the follow-up work afterwards, enrollment of 20,000 new point of sales, progress on release of tax refunds, information about changes in Form H and the result of other reforms undertaken so far by the FBR. He assured his support for FBR and hoped that the revenue collection body would not disappoint the nation and work harder to fulfill the expectations of the prime minister.