ISLAMABAD            -          A new voluntary network, Taxpayers Alliance Pakistan has been launched comprising citizens of Pakistan from all walks of life to advise, educate and influence the Government and Public Policy to lowering the taxes on businesses and individuals, simplify the taxation regime, and to urge the government to eliminate undue and wasteful expenditures.

In its first meeting, the Alliance has urged the need of changing the narrative about taxation in Pakistan. Contrary to the prevalent narrative consisting of increased tax collection targets, tax theft and increasing tax-to-GDP ratio, the Alliance points to an alternative narrative with a focus on economic growth and keeping taxes simple, low and broad-based yielding wider tax base. 

In a press release, Taxpayers Alliance has raised concern that documentation efforts may be undermining growth without first restoring a level of trust between tax payers and tax collectors.

The Alliance pointed out that tax laws in Pakistan are complex, arbitrary and incoherent. The ambiguities and arbitrariness of tax laws create uncertainties for doing business and give a lot of discretionary powers to tax authorities. The Alliance also raised concern that the Federal Board of Revenue raises most of the revenue through withholding agents, indirect and import taxation. The Alliance recommended that instead of reliance on the withholding taxes, the government should move to a broad-based direct taxation regime, for which the Federal Board of Revenue needs to ramp up its professional competence in the matters of tax compliance, audit and adjudication.

The Alliance introduced a draft Taxpayers Bill of Rights for further deliberation. The Alliance will advocate for passage of the bill and urged the government to take up during the budget session. The Bill ensures protection of the rights of taxpayers in Pakistan against any discrimination, arbitrariness and opaqueness in tax administration and tax policy. This draft can be accessed at this link: https://primeinstitute.org/tax-payers-alliance-pakistan-tpap/

Taxpayers Alliance Pakistan is a voluntary network and any Pakistani citizen, individual or corporate body, who is a taxpayer and agree with the mission can join the network. It is an initiative supported by an independent think tank PRIME.