ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Bajwa has directed the key departments associated with the budget preparations to accord top priority to the interest and aspirations of the people in finalisation of upcoming budget.
While chairing a meeting here at FBR Headquarters to review budget proposals prepared by the three main wings of the FBR, Bajawa asked the Customs, Income Tax and Sales Tax Wings not to burden the common man with new taxes.
A well-placed source at FBR told this scribe that for the purpose of the said meeting, FBR headquarters was kept open on weakly holiday (Saturday) and meeting kicked off exactly at 10:00 am and lasted for several hours.
Three members gave presentations on the budgetary proposals prepared by their respective departments; Nisar Muhammad Khan briefed about the Customs, Abdul Hameed Memon about Income Tax while Amjad Zubari Tiwana apprised the meeting about the budge proposals finalised by the Sales Tax department.
Briefing on budget preparations also included a comparative analysis of the revenue and expenditure position as under budget 2014-15.
The participants of the meeting held detailed discussion on budget proposals evolving total value of Rs100 billion; these include Rs10 billion of customs, Rs30 billion sales tax while Rs60 billion of income tax.
It is significant to note here that it is for the first time that FBR is focusing on income tax proposals of Rs60 billion because it does not affect common man because income tax is charged from higher income people.
Bajwa also directed his team members that tax burden should be increased on non-tax compliers in the form of higher and increased tax rate. Different options were considered in this regard and discussion was held on increase tax rate on exempted sales tax sectors including dairy and others.
Moreover, proposals of increasing Customs Duty on luxury items was also discussed and appreciated by the participants of the meeting.
Chairman Bajwa observed that FBR should improve enforcement so that more policy measures may not be required to achieve the revenue target as well as to achieve the target through performance. He directed Member Operations to convey field formation to improve tax collection to achieve the current revenue target for remaining era of fiscal year so that new taxes may not be levied.
The meeting also discussed some incentives for the tax compliers by further widening the difference of tax rates for compliers and non compliers and this proposal also received applause from the participants.
Another proposal of lowering the withholding tax rate for lower income people i.e decreasing the rate of tax for lower salaried and increasing tax rate for higher salaried people was also discussed and almost approved.