Corporate taxpayers evaded Rs100 billion in 4 months

KARACHI: The country’s corporate sector has been found involved in at least Rs100 billion of tax evasion and avoidance during the four months of the fiscal year, Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) Karachi officials told a news conference.

In the ongoing audit and examination, the unit detected Rs100 billion as tax avoidance/evasion by around 12 companies, senior officials of LTU Karachi said. They however did not reveal names of tax evading companies.

Inland Revenue commissioners Zulfiqar Memon and Girdhari Mal were sharing information about the performance of the unit as part of instructions of the FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi.

Mal said alone one case involved the tax concealment of Rs23 billion. Notices have been issued to the companies for recovery of evaded amount, he said.

The commissioner said the LTU posted 16 percent in revenue collection growth during the first four months (July – October) 2019/20. He attributed the growth to reforms initiatives taken by the government. “The growth in revenue is dividend of the economic activity.” The tax official said the banks were the major revenue spinner during the first four months of the current fiscal year. Besides refineries, oil marketing and textile companies also performed well in revenue contribution, he added.

The LTU Karachi released Rs21 billion as sales tax refund during the period under review after the change of sales tax regime effective from July 1, 2019.

Memon said the law of information sharing from banks to tax authorities was introduced in 2013. However, the law has been stayed by the courts. The FBR is unable to receive information with exception of specific/identified cases from banks, he added. Recently a court advised the FBR and Pakistan Banks’ Association to resolve the issue.

The tax officials further said LTU Karachi identified around 100,000 individuals who have commercial gas connections but don’t have mandatory sales tax registration. The officials said the Large Taxpayers Unit gathered information from Sui Southern Gas Company and other tax offices and cross-verified them with the list of sales tax registered individuals.

The LTU Karachi has jurisdiction over 5,056 units. The unit has jurisdiction over a company having over Rs400 million turnover or Rs20 million as tax contribution in a year. Talking about the recent reforms initiatives by the government including proposed formation of Pakistan Revenue Authority, the officials said the filed units are not against the government plan. However, they said, the FBR chairman had assured the employees of addressing their grievances related to the reform program.

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