NA Committee on Finance visits RTO Karachi; invites recommendations to increase revenue collection

KARACHI: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance headed by Qaiser Ahmed Shaikh visited the Regional Tax Office (RTO) on Friday and advised the Chief Commissioners to furnish concrete and workable proposals to broaden the tax net and increase revenues.

Chief Commissioner LTU Karachi Syed Ayaz Mahmood apprised the meeting that banks were reluctant to share the information regarding transactions of their account holders with the tax officers and recommended that FBR should have access to the databases of other related agencies including NADRA, SECP, WAPDA, Immigration Department and particularly banks.

He said optimal utilization of third party information from banks, utilities companies, real estate authorities, automobile manufacturers etc could help broaden tax net as the undocumented sectors offered huge tax potential. This way the informal sectors, running parallel economy, could be regularized, he added.

Parliamentary Secretary on Finance Rana Mohammad Afzal observed that it was not easy to amend banking laws providing access to FBR; however the tax body could be given access to the FIA database. The NA Committee headed by Qaiser Ahmed Shaikh agreed on the proposal.

Qaiser Ahmed Shaikh addressing the meeting said government was out of funds and urged the officers to come up with concrete and workable proposals to broaden the tax net and increase revenues.

Chief Collector Ayaz Mahmood suggested gradual removal of exemptions and concessions to reduce tax gaps and added that all segments of economy should be taxed for fair and equitable treatment.

Chief Commissioner RTO Hafiz Mohammad Ali Indhar emphasized on capacity building of the tax formations. He said that FBR was quite short of staff as there had been no inductions for the last 15 years.

Chairman NA Committee advised the tax officers to furnish their recommendations through proper channel and assured them of support and cooperation.

To a question, Shaikh said revenue collection numbers were satisfactory so far and expressed hope that the target of Rs3.01 trillion would be achieved.

To another question, he said that there would be no further extension in the tax amnesty scheme deadline and added that FBR would initiate enforcement procedures against the non-filers soon.

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