ISLAMABAD: New policy measures including by the Finance Ministry through Finance Act, 2014 aiming to make business costly for the tax evaders and defaulters have produced good results.
One of the steps was to include a new regime wherein different rates of adjustable withholding of Income Tax for income tax returns filers and non filers on certain transactions have been introduced.
The higher rates of tax for non filers will not only prod non filers to file returns and declare their income from all sources, but also provide a database to FBR for identification of potential taxpayers to be pursued for broadening of tax base.
“As per these policy measures, several new steps had been taken to bring the tax evaders to justice including data collection through third party sources such as motor vehicle registering authorities, educational institutions, property registrars offices, development authorities, housing sections, electricity distribution companies, automobile manufacturing companies, and withholding statements” a well placed source at Finance Ministry told this scribe here on Saturday.
This data is consolidated in the National Data Warehouse which is disseminated to the field formations/offices for action as per law. This entire process is monitored by the Directorate General of Broadening of Tax Base (BTB) which was established for the purpose.
Directorate General, Intelligence and Investigation (IR) has been established which is exclusively pursuing cases of tax fraud and evasion. This Directorate gathers information on tax related issues and investigates tax and fiscal frauds.
The field formations issued 261,000 notices, enforced 33,000 tax returns, finalized 63,000 cases involving an amount of Rs 18 billion tax in since July first 2014 till today. Similarly, issued 120,000 notices, enforced 17,000 tax returns, finalized 28,000 cases involving an amount of Rs 11 billion tax in fiscal year 2013-14. Moreover, 40 warrants for the arrest of tax evaders have been issued and 473 cases in which property attached other than bank accounts were registered.
After thorough investigations which include criminal proceedings, cases are sent to field formations (Regional Tax Offices and Large Taxpayers Units) along with the investigations reports for adjudications.
Federal Board of Revenue field offices deal with cases as per their respective jurisdictions. Through multiple functions and assignments, actions are taken against tax evaders.
Some of the functions include, bringing new taxpayers into the tax net, collection of third party data, Desk Audit of tax returns and statements, cross matching of data through manual as well as automated system, such as Computerized risk Based Evolution of Sales Tax (CREST), conduct of audit, processing of tax evasion complaints, recovery measures etc.
Detection of tax evasion is a continuous process. Tax is detected, assessed to tax, and tax is collected through different modes of recovery.