ISLAMABAD-The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is optimistic to achieve first quarter (July to September) tax collection target of Rs960 billion after surpassing target in first two months of the current fiscal year 2020-21.

The FBR had surpassed two months tax collection target by Rs.42 billion. According to the released information, against the assigned revenue target of Rs.551 billion, FBR has collected Rs.593 billion, thus showing an increase of Rs.42 billion and 108 percent of the assigned target.

“The tax collection in first two months is satisfactory. Collection would have further increased if the heavy rainfall had not affected customs clearance of imported cargo in last week of August,” said an official of the FBR. He informed that government had also repaid more refunds in first two months due to handsome tax collection. The payment of refunds was recorded at around Rs31 billion in July and August period, an increase of 181 percent over last year’s payment of Rs11 billion. He further said that FBR is working on a strategy to achieve annual tax collection target. The government had set annual tax collection target at Rs4.963 trillion in FY21 against Rs3.989 trillion collected in FY20.

According to the FBR, in post COVID-19 pandemic scenario, the economic activities are now being revived through multiple economic stimuli and reliefs granted in the budget FY-2020-21. Hectic efforts were put up by customs field formations in respect of collection of duty and taxes which was otherwise a daunting task owing to post COVID-19 pandemic economic constraints, Muharram’s holidays and heavy rain fall in Karachi which is the epicenter of country’s revenue collection. The heavy rainfall has badly affected the customs clearance of imported cargo during last week and resultantly the revenue collection.

The ministry of finance said that the government has announced opening of almost all economic activities, thus an upward trend in FBR tax collection is expected, and still the risk prevails as economic activities will be in full swing with some time lag. On expenditure side, following budget strategy of FY2021, the government will continue to focus on keeping primary balance at the sustainable level. Thus, with continued expenditure management along with Corona related expenditure, fiscal deficit is expected to be kept being financed as budgeted.