ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) provided a list of 100,000 Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers of unregistered persons to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for data enrichment to broaden the tax base, according to media.
NADRA had asked the FBR to provide third-party data including property/land data, vehicles/utilities’ information, telecom, banks/stock market data, etc. for analysis and working out tax liability of tax evaders/short-filers.
According to sources familiar with the proceedings, the NADRA authorities were asking for the FBR’s data at a time when the FBR had finally developed a computer application “Taxray” for 360-degree view of the taxpayer by linking data directly obtained from the taxpayer including income tax, sales tax and customs duty with the third-party databanks. The Taxray app is expected to be available to the field formations in August-September 2020.
At the same time, the Finance Act, 2020, has directed NADRA to provide online access to its own databases to the FBR. As per the sources, NADRA officials met the tax authorities to have access to the third-party data maintained by the FBR for the purpose of creation of mathematical models, data analytics and determining the predictive tax liability of tax evaders and short-filers with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
NADRA has sought data from the FBR including travelers’ data, telecom data, property/utility data, credit card information, banks data, vehicles data and other data such as land records etc. These data are available with the FBR’s third-party information maintained in the FBR’s own databases.
Sources pointed out that the FBR was checking the legal position whether the tax authorities were legally permitted and authorised to provide all the said data to NADRA under the relevant provisions of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001. In this connection, the FBR has provided a list of 100,000 CNICs of unregistered persons to NADRA for data enrichment. Data enrichment is the process used to enhance, refine or otherwise, improve raw data and making data a valuable asset for almost any modern tax department.
The FBR seems to have no problem in providing data in case NADRA facilitates the tax authorities in broadening the tax base, the sources stated. Officials said that NADRA was required to link those 100,000 CNICs with its database covering family tree, and provide all the data to the FBR for further processing and broadening the tax base.
It is also pertinent to mention here that through Finance Act 2020, the government had allowed the FBR real-time access to information and databases of various authorities such as the NADRA, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and the provincial excise and taxation departments. However, timely verification of data by NADRA will be very important for the purpose of broadening the tax base.