As reported in the media, the federal government has envisaged additional taxes worth Rs. 138 billions to achieve its proposed target of Rs. 1,650 billions that has been set for the tax year 2010-11. According to the details, the proposal prepared by the advisory committee on finance in consultation with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) includes 20 new services in the tax net besides a lot of other changes in the income-tax slabs to increase revenues. I still recall a proposal in the tax year 2004 that seemed very viable in the first flush but was, unfortunately, killed in infancy at the Ministry of Finance due to stiff resistance by vested interests. The proposal was to collect advance tax on housing plots measuring 500 square yards and above. The advance tax was to be adjustable against the prospective tax liability and in case the owner of the plot filed a return to prove that his income was either exempt from income tax or less than the minimum limit, the tax so collected was to be deemed refundable. The proposal, if it had not been resisted by the interested lobbies had three pronged advantages. The CBR would not only have collected enormous revenues during the tax year but could have added hundreds of thousands of new taxpayers to the tax net. Moreover, in the absence of a wealth-tax act, which was abolished by the previous regime due to proven and reported ulterior motives, a scheme such as this would have put an adequate check on black economy. I know that even now this suggestion would cause a lot of uproar in the rich class of the society but, keeping in view the enormous potential of revenues as well as new tax payers to be accrued from this, the present government should consider it. -A. AHMED QURESHI, Kotri, May 30.