ISLAMABAD-The government on Friday once again extended the deadline for filing income tax returns for one month in a bid to increase the number of tax filers.

The last date for filing of income tax returns for tax year 2019 was extended five times consecutively to facilitate individuals to file their returns. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has extended the deadline in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 214A of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001. “The date of filing of Return of Total Income/Statements of final taxation for Individuals and Associations of Persons for the Tax Year 2019 which was due on 30th September, 2019 and extended up to 31st January, 2020 is hereby further extended up to 28th February. 2020,” the FBR said in a notification. Meanwhile, the date of filing of Return of Total Income /Statements of final taxation for Companies for the Tax Year 2019 which was due on 30th September 2019 and extended up to 31st January. 2020 in respect of those companies who have paid ninety five percent of the admitted tax liability on or before 30,9, 2019 is hereby further extended up to 28th February, 2020.

The FBR has extended the deadline to increase the number of tax filers from the number of previous year. Around 2.3 million tax returns have been filed till now as against 1.635 million returns filed in the tax year 2018. For the tax year 2018, FBR had received 2.7 million returns — the highest number in FBR’s history. The FBR is continuously urging the taxpayers to file their tax returns before the deadline. It further said that all those people who possess house of more than 500 square metres and a car of over 1,000 cc are supposed to file their tax returns. It further said that it is also mandatory for all commercial and industrial consumers of gas and electricity to be on active taxpayers list.

The FBR is also working to bring retailers in tax net. The FBR has released the information about the number of Point of Sales integrated with the FBR System. According to the released information, so far 5,783 POSs (Point of Sales) of 286 retailers have been integrated with FBR and the sales tax invoices issued by these POSs are being reported to FBR in real-time. This progress has been made possible with the continuous effort of FBR and its field formations.

In order to ensure correct reporting of sales by retailers and realization of due tax from them, FBR prescribed electronic integration of points of sales (POSs) of all tier-1 retailers of textile and leather sector in budget 2018-19. Initially, the integration was optional and to encourage the same an incentive of reduced rate of sales tax was provided.

For integration, the retailers have to install software extension provided by FBR on their system, which ensures live reporting of sales tax to FBR’s server. Live integration was operationalized with effect from 1st November 2018. One salient feature of the system is that a customer or tax officer can easily verify through FBR’s website or a mobile app that invoice issued by the retailer has been duly reported to the Board and the tax charged thereon has been duly accounted for.

The provisions for mandatory integration of retailers were introduced in the Sales Tax Act, 1990, through the Finance Act, 2019, and proper rules were laid down. The deadline of 15th December, 2019, was provided for all retailers to integrate their POSs with FBR.

Despite technical difficulties faced by the retailers, the process of integration is proceeding smoothly. FBR has conducted series of meeting, seminars and workshops across the country to educate and persuade retailers for integration. Focal persons have been notified in each RTO/LTU to assist and facilitate retailers.

Helpdesks have been established in air-conditioned malls to educate and facilitate retailers. All support material has also been provided on FBR’s website on its POS page.