Islamabad: Over 2.1 million people have filed their tax returns so far ‘which is the highest in the FBR’s history’, a news source quoted Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary as saying. In a tweet posted on Sunday, the minister said that the federal institution had ‘projected a target’ for the tax year 2019 at four million.
Previously, FBR Chairman Shahbar Zaidi said that the number of active taxpayers stood between 1.4 million and 2.2 million. He added that the taxation authority wanted to increase this number to the four million mark for the tax year 2019.
To facilitate this measure, as well as to document small and large-scale business owners, it planned to introduce two new policies – one of which will impose two fixed slabs of PKR 5,000 and 10,000 upon small retailers, on a quarterly basis. He added that the board would seek public input on this front.
Similarly, the fixed tax amount of PKR 20,000 and PKR 40,000 per annum will not require any complicated taxation regime. The second scheme will be launched for wholesalers with a turnover of PKR 50 million, 75 million, and 100 million and the amount of fixed tax will be decided as per their annual turnover.
The draft of the said recommendations is scheduled for upload on the FBR’s website today for public input, while the policies await the cabinet’s approval, expected next week. The FBR officials explained that with these tax schemes for retailers and wholesalers, the number of taxpayers might hike up to 3.5 million. The FBR expects to bring 2.5 million into the tax bracket by August 2 – the deadline for tax returns submission.
For retailers with over 1,000 square feet area of shops in fancy shopping malls, a GST rate of 17 per cent will be applied in ‘Tier-1’. A tax based on the electricity bills will be charged in the second tier. The FBR aims to collect PKR 5,550 billion revenue in the current fiscal year that requires an ambitious growth rate of 44 per cent.
According to an FBR official, despite the increasing complications of the tax and subsequent returns, the number of filers increased from 835,924 in 2012, to 1,577,964 in the tax year 2017. The increase is associated with higher tax rates imposed on non-filers in 2014.