ISLAMABAD           -         Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday said that as many as 1.6 million people had filed their income tax returns so far.

The officials of the FBR, while briefing the parliamentary committee, said that 2.6 million people had filed their income tax returns in previous year. So far, in the current year, around 1.6 million people had filed their returns and it is expected that number of filers would increase at the end of deadline. The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, which met under the chair of Senator Farooq H Naik, has discussed the process of filing income tax returns. The officials have informed the committee that large number of people filed their returns by online process. Only 20,224 people have filed their returns manually this year as compared to 30,000 in the previous year. The committee recommended that government should maintain the facility of filing returns manually for the far-flung areas.

The committee has also discussed the condition related to Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) for traders. The committee was informed that government and traders had made an agreement in this regard. As per the agreement, the government will not take action against those violating the CNIC condition by the end of January 2020. But action may be taken after three months. Committee member Senator Talha Mahmood said that government should increase the level of Rs50,000 required for CNIC to Rs0.5 million. Otherwise, it would create problems for the business community.

The committee was informed that FBR had achieved 90 percent of tax collection target during the month of November. The FBR had so far collected Rs1680 billion in the ongoing fiscal year. Tax collection on the domestic sector had recorded 28 percent growth. The collection would have increase if the country’s imports had not fallen. Meanwhile, the FBR officials informed the committee that FBR had so far released around Rs8 billion on account of refunds to textile exporters under an automated payment system. Total tax refunds were around Rs27 billion. However, refunds worth of Rs16 billion were not claimed.

The committee has also decided to call the officials of State Bank of Pakistan in next meeting. Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan has asked that committee should be briefed about SBP’s policy of purchasing dollars from the market. He has also asked about how much the government made borrowing from the SBP in last three years and currently it is borrowing.