ISLAMABAD -  Senate Standing Committee on Finance Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla on Saturday rejected the audit policy of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) that selected 93,277 tax cases for audit through computerised balloting by saying the policy would ‘harass’ existing taxpayers.

“The so-called audit policy will harass the honest taxpayers of the country and due to this policy more people will go out of the tax net,” said Senator Mandviwalla. He expressed serious reservations over the audit policy and termed it a disaster for tax system of the country.

On January 5, the FBR had selected 93,277 cases for a tax audit. The FBR had selected 7.5 percent cases for holding audit out of total received returns under Universal Self-Assessment Scheme (USAS). The break-up of 93,277 showed that the FBR selected 2,173 cases for audit from corporate sector of income tax, 82,090 cases from non-corporate sector of income tax, 987 cases from sales tax (corporate), 7,976 from sales tax (non-corporate), 30 cases from federal excise duty (corporate) and 21 cases from FED (non-corporate).

Senator Mandviwalla, who was the former finance minister during the PPP’s last tenure, said that it was unfortunate that out of 0.9 million taxpayers, only 0.1 million would be audited. “The FBR is busy in threatening and harassing taxpayers by different ways and means. It is conducting raids on the offices of the taxpayers and issuing notices every day. It is totally un-understandable for what purpose it is doing such actions against the taxpayers,” he added. He said that the FBR has complexly failed to increase the tax net. “The FBR wants that the people should not be made part of the tax net and its actions proving all this,” he alleged.

He said that the FBR has done nothing on the data of high net wealth individuals, as the PPP had provided a data of more than 0.7 million high net wealth individuals to the FBR by getting a record from the NADRA. He said, “These peoples are enjoying every facility in the country, as they are living in luxury villas, travelling abroad every month, their children are studying abroad and they have a bank balance of billions but they are out of the tax net.” FBR never questioned them that why they are not paying taxes, he claimed.

“The FBR is collecting taxes from the existing taxpayers of the country through such audit policies. The FBR should revisit its audit policy to provide relief to the taxpayers who are already in the tax net,” he added.