ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) needs to follow an innovative and comprehensive tax collection system to enhance the revenue collection by broadening the tax base. In this regard, different model tax collection systems followed by some other countries have been under discussion at higher policy level of the FBR at different times.
However, a source at FBR told Customs Today that Korean Hometax system seemed more effective to meet the national challenges of the revenue collection. Hometax was launched in 2002 as part of the Korean government’s plan to provide tax information and tax services online. It is an internet-based service that allows taxpayers to file tax returns, pay taxes, and receive tax-related documents on the internet without having to go to the tax office.
The source said that the widespread public access to the internet and the development in information and technology (IT) had made it possible for the National Tax Service (NTS) to begin developing innovative new online taxpayer services in a way that greatly reduces taxpayers’ burden of complying with the tax law.
Actually, the source said that there was a benign relationship between the tax collector and taxpayers which guaranteed the success of the system by promotion of trust of the taxpayers in the tax authority, but here in Pakistan there was the weakest possible trust based relationship between both the sides.
Here, taxpayers and tax collectors are dependent on the tax lawyers for the tax compliance and it is sole reason of mistrust on both the sides because the tax lawyers often keep the taxpayers frightened from the tax collectors for monetary gains.
Moreover, the source said that lack of direct interaction between taxpayers and tax collector also tantamount of huge number of litigation cases which also block the revenue collection of billions of rupees.
But, the South Korean Homtax system meant establishing an e-tax office which enables the handling over the internet of tax affairs that previously required a taxpayer to visit a tax office, and which provides quality services to taxpayers. In the longer term, it meant creating a ubiquitous environment by incorporating mobile and cell phone infrastructure to provide taxpayer services at any time and from any place.
The source said that it helped drastically improve services for taxpayers, making it possible to provide services regardless of time and space, and Hometax that does not force taxpayers to visit a tax office or a bank has led to minimize unnecessary contact with the tax authority, thus reducing disputes and the possibility of illicit dealings.
In the meantime, Hometax made a great contribution to reducing public costs. It helped reduce workloads caused by unnecessary reentry of data and speed up payment processing while cutting costs. And it also prevented delay of mail delivery, saving costs for the National Tax Service (150 billion won in 2008) and taxpayers (400 billion won). In this regard, Hometax is evaluated to have made a great contribution to drastically improving the quality of services for the general public and advancing e-Government in Korea.