ISLAMABAD - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Friday once again extended the date of filing tax returns 2014 till 21st of November apparently due to the authorities failure to address technical glitches on the online portal (E-FBR Portal).

“Date of filing of returns for the tax year 2014 has been extended to 21st of November”, said Shahid Hussain Asad, official spokesperson and senior member Inland Revenue-Policy FBR, while talking to The Nation. He added that FBR has taken this decision to facilitate the business community as well as common people.

The government had several times already extended the dates, as date for filing of income tax returns for income earned during fiscal year 2013-14 had earlier been extended by one month to September 30 and again to October 31. Therefore, the government has once again extended the date of 21 days.

Sources in FBR informed that taxpayers are still experiencing programming errors while dealing with newly launched IRIS software. Functions of the e-portal were also creating problems while working on them, adding that either it did not respond to command or is working very slow, affecting the process of e-filing of income tax returns. Therefore, large number of taxpayers could not file their returns by due date. Therefore, the government has extended the due date of filing tax returns.

Meanwhile, according to the press statement issued here, Finance Minister and Federal Board of Revenue have received a number of requests for extension in date of filing of Income Tax Returns for Tax Year 2014, from FPCCI, Provincial Chambers of Commerce & Industry, All Pakistan Tax Bars Association, Pakistan Tax Advisors Association, All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran and various other trade bodies and business associations stating that due to advent of Muharram-ul-Haram a number of taxpayers will be busy in observing their religious rites starting from the last week of October, 2014. Moreover many taxpayers remained outside Pakistan for performance of Haj and many of them have still not arrived back.  Therefore, the FBR has considered the request of the taxpayers and on the directions of the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Ishaq Dar, it has been decided that the date of filing of returns which was already extended to 31st October, 2014 may further be extended to 21st November, 2014. However, taxpayers are advised in their own interest to file their returns as early as possible without waiting for the last date because when everybody approaches FBR’s web-portal during the last dates to file their returns there is a possibility of overloading the system which may cause difficulties for the taxpayers. Like its predecessor, the PML-N government has been struggling to expand an extremely narrow tax base. Out of 3.544 million people who have valid National Tax Numbers (NTN), only 890,000 filed income tax returns on incomes earned during financial year 2012-13 ended on June 30, according to the FBR.