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No escape for tax evaders, warns Hammad Azhar

No escape for tax evaders, warns Hammad Azhar

LAHORE: Advisor to Prime Minister on Revenue Hammad Azhar has said that there would be no escape for tax evaders and there would be no need for raids by FBR. He said that raids by FBR on business premises have been suspended till March 31, 2019.

He advised all those that evaded or understated income to file tax realistic returns. He said that most of the raids were conducted on the basis of data analysis of firms and individuals. However, he conceded that the tax collectors are not so clean and grab every opportunity to mint money.

Hammad Azhar deplored that in the past FBR used to achieve tax targets by enhancing the tax rates that hurt tax compliant entrepreneurs. He said after separation of tax planning from tax collection the FBR officials would now have to make real efforts to achieve their targets. He said revenue would increase by bringing in tax evaders into tax net and checking the under filing of taxes through technology. He clarified that filing a tax return does not necessarily means that taxes are not evaded and there is a need to scrutinize financials of taxpayers to ascertain the no evasion has occurred.

The Minister assured the businessmen that after enlargement of tax base the tax rates would also be brought down to the regional level. He said indirect taxation hurts the poor; this is the reason this government desires to increase the percentage of direct taxes.

Earlier LCCI President Almas Hyder pointed out that 99.4 percent of the entire tax revenue is deposited by the taxpaying businessmen. Agriculture those has higher weight in GDP contributes a paltry amount of Rs2.5 billion only. Complaining about high tax rates in Pakistan he revealed that when he asked the Chinese Ambassador as to why the Chinese are not investing in Pakistan; he said because of very high tax rates in Pakistan compared with regional countries and absence of Special Economic Zones. The LCCI President said that government should review the laws and rules & regulations  which ultimately make people to stay away from tax net.