Pakistan lacks a culture where people file their tax returns. Though for quite some time the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is boasting of improving and broadening the tax net, however, the lamentation of the Prime Minister Imran Khan that only 72000 people with income equal to 200,000 or more are filers exposes the performance of the FBR.

While it is correct that inflation can be controlled if FBR broadens the tax net, nevertheless, it is also true that usually people avoid becoming filers because of the complications and poor taxation mechanisms. Moreover, the state does not enjoy the trust of people. The government need to assure the people that the money in the form of tax collections will be used for providing them with better social services. Only such assurances can convince people to start trusting the state and showing how much wealth they have.  

Nevertheless, the government is determined to improve the tax culture in the country. Hopefully, the steps that the government is intending to take to promote a revenue collection culture with a broad tax base in the country will achieve the desired results. However, only a collective response by the citizenry and state will successfully create a brad tax base.

Before taking any other step, the government needs to understand the reasons for people not filing their returns. Only a correct diagnosis will allow the government to come with a persuasive case before the public for filing the tax returns. It is the minimum spending of the government on social services that people do not pay tax. They see no rationale in filing their returns as providing information will force them to pay tax to the state.

Furthermore, the lack of awareness also bars people from filing their returns. The government needs to address the reasons aforementioned. A transparent system with easy steps to file returns with a robust awareness campaign can bring more and more people into the tax net.