ISLAMABAD - In a large swoop to widen the tax net and ensure tax compliance across Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has started a massive drive for the recovery of taxes from big and influential tax evaders.

The FBR has identified 169 wealthy non-filers in the country, which are set to face ‘hot pursuit’. The crackdown on the high-value targets has been launched on the instruction of Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar as part of the government’s efforts to widen the tax net and bring in it all those individuals who have purchased big properties, brought over 3000CC or larger engine cars and have been paid property rent in millions but have not paid any tax or filed tax returns.

In the first phase, strict action is being taken against 169 tax evaders and non-filers with proven trail of large business transactions and financial deals made by them in recent times. All such tax evaders have been identified by the FBR and are being proceeded against for recovery of payable tax besides being subjected to heavy fines and penalties for failing to fulfill their tax obligations.

The FBR has also decided to start action, in a phased manner, against all those tax evaders who have purchased properties over Rs 20 million, or purchased 1800 CC or larger engine cars, or received rent to the tune of Rs 10 million or more in a year but not bothered to file their tax returns; therefore not in the list of taxpayers. The drive for the recovery of tax from these big tax evaders is being launched across Pakistan without any discrimination.

The FBR has further warned the tax evaders to file their tax returns and pay their due taxes within the due date as the government is committed to reviving the national economy by introducing and promoting a healthy tax culture under which all Pakistanis pay their due taxes and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

Sources informed The Nation that PTI government has decided to take strict action against non tax filers to broaden the tax base of the country. The government in its recent mini budget had projected about Rs92 billion would be recovered through the use of “modern technology” and without increasing tax rates on individual. It has included action against wealthy non-taxpayers, avoiding smuggling, stopping illegal businesses, etc.

Earlier, the PTI government had decided to issue notices to 300 Pakistani nationals who own properties in the United Arab Emirates. Notices will be sent to individuals who own six or more properties in UAE. They will be inquired about their sources of income and tax paid by them. Before the PTI government, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had stated issuing notices to Pakistanis for not disclosing their properties and assets in United Kingdom (UK) under the Tax Amnesty Scheme. The UK tax authority, HMRC, has shared with FBR full details of Pakistanis owning properties and earning rental incomes. The FBR had obtained information about immovable properties owned by the Pakistanis in the United Kingdom with the assistance of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UK tax authorities.