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PostSubject:   Mon 06 Apr 2015, 12:12 pm

ISLAMABAD: The Tax Advisory Council (TAC), Saturday, extended full support to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to make it a vibrant organization capable to meet futuristic economic challenges with a dynamic approach.
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) formed TAC to recommend new measures for the next budget 2014-15 last year. The idea to constitute a tax advisory body had originally been floated to simplify tax laws, plug loopholes and ensure principles of equity and fairness in the tax systems by seeking help of leading tax professionals of the country.
“However, TAC linked the approval of numerous proposals flouted by participants to the upcoming report of the National Tax Reforms Commission (NTRC) which is likely to be completed by the end of current month” a well placed source at FBR told this scribe here on Saturday.
The 22-member TAC comprises of leading industrialists, chartered accountants, business community leaders, economists and former officers of the Federal Board of Revenue. These powerful businessmen deal in almost every main sector of the economy including dairy products, textile, steel, engineering, banking and trading.
In September 2014, Finance Minister constituted a “Tax Reforms Commission” for Review and rationalization of Direct and Indirect Taxes, Customs Tariff Rationalization, Review of Autonomy and Administrative structure of FBR, Creation of border force to deal with illegal movement of persons and goods across international borders; and any other related issues.
TAC also appreciated numerous measures carried out by the Finance Ministry to overcome the economic challenges confronted by the country in a short span of last two and half years.
In September 2014, Finance Minister constituted a “Tax Reforms Commission” for Review and rationalization of Direct and Indirect Taxes, Customs Tariff Rationalization, Review of Autonomy and Administrative structure of FBR, Creation of border force to deal with illegal movement of persons and goods across international borders; and any other related issues.
Presentations of the participants of the meeting remained confined to three key areas including broadening the tax net, providing ease of doing business without compromising revenue as well as enhancing the tax revenue. All these three areas have been main focus of almost every government for increasing tax revenue in the past and current government.
In is inaugural address, FBR Chairman briefed the participants of the meeting about current performance of the FBR. He observed that FBR had gained 13% growth in tax collection and collected Rs 1538 billion in first eight months of the current fiscal year 2014-15.
He said that FBR faced main problems in sales tax collection in which only five percent growth could be achieved in the said time period. With an objective to widen the tax net or tax base, FBR introduced several measures last year to bring people in tax net but these measures failed in producing desired results due the intensity and higher volume of problems.
Bajwa termed reduced prices of petroleum products as main reason for lesser volume of both the income and sales tax, saying this factor affected the performance of the tax authorities. Income tax collection also remained lower than the expectations in last month, March due to this reason. He also invited proposals and suggestions from the participants of the meeting to ensure tax collection at any cost.
Due course of meeting, representatives of the business community insisted on FBR to address environment of fear so that people may pay tax willingly. However, FBR was of the viewpoint that despite taking several measures for creation of tax friendly environment, masses remained inattentive towards their national obligation of paying taxes. This is why recent statistics show that volume of tax collection has not increased as per estimation of the government.
The business community representatives also pressed on the government to ensure checking the inflow of smuggling because it is not only affecting entire financial progress also the local industry as well as tax and revenue collection.
They insisted to check smuggling at borders; however, the FBR was of the view that it was almost impossible to stop smuggling at borders by dint of available infrastructure and working force. However, FBR ensured the meeting the smuggled goods and products will not be taken away from shops, but raids will be carried out at warehouses wherever smuggled goods are reported to be stored.
The participants of the meeting proposed that government should allow duty free import of machinery and plants in the country so that more economic activities and job opportunities could be created which will ultimately result in massive increase in revenue collection both sales, income and other taxes.
To this proposal the FBR promised to consider this proposal sympathetically, however, it was brought in the notice of the meeting that under Prime Minister’s scheme, government had announced zero tax rate on import of machinery last year for those industrial units which had to be made operational by the end of current year.
Another proposal on making Land Revenue Department operational at the territorial basis and FBR told the meeting that Tax Reforms Commission was working on it and would propose recommendations in this regard which would be included in Finance Act. TRC is finalizing its report and TAC to meet again at the end of April.
FBR expressed its desire to further extend practice of different tax rates for non filer and filer of tax returns mechanism with increase ratio of difference so that more and more people would be inspired to file their income tax returns.
In his address to the meeting Finance Minister Dar referred to the ongoing operation against terrorists saying that Rs170 billion were required to continue the said operations while an amount of Rs 80 billion were needed on urgent basis.
Therefore, the urged the FBR to increase the revenue collection otherwise government would have to resort to foreign and domestic borrowings to meet its expenses and keep the governmental organizations functional and to run the affairs of the state.
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