LAHORE - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has failed to publish yearly directory of taxpayers, containing details of their income, assets, liabilities, expenses and taxes, it was learnt. The FBR had once published a taxpayers’ directory in 1993 and no new addition appeared since then.

Experts said that under article 19 of section A, it is fundamental right of citizens to know about particulars and amount of tax paid by the country’s rulers elite. They said that under Section 216(5) of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, the FBR can publish a taxpayers’ directory, with the prior approval of the federal government with a view to transparency in tax administration.

“Its publication on a regular basis being in furtherance of Article 19 (A) of the Constitution shall certainly help reduce tax maladministration in Pakistan. Prior approval of the government is, however, not required (Section 216(6)) for publication of particulars of taxpayers who are holders of public office.”

The business community, while appreciating Federal Tax Ombudsman’s direction of publishing taxpayers’ directory, has said that it is basic right of public to know about details of tax amount paid by the rulers elite, including parliamentarians etc.

APAT central general secretary Naeem Mir, expressing grave concern over another scheme to offer amnesty to tax evaders, rather than introducing asset seizure legislatures to confiscate untaxed assets, said that government should also develop a list consisting of beneficiaries of past tax amnesty schemes. He said that a list of 500 top taxpayers of the country should also be made public and rewards be announced for their encouragement, besides other incentives for them to enhance tax-to-GDP ratio. He said that traders sincerely believe that tax amnesty and money-whitening schemes are acts of betrayal, cheating the honest taxpayers and the nation. “We want to remind the government of its solemn promise made to the Parliament in 2008 that after Tax Investment Scheme it would not introduce any more amnesty schemes,” he said. Mir said that amnesty schemes should not be used as a measure to raise revenue as these discourage honest taxpayers and create distrust in state institutions.