ISLAMABAD - The government on Friday gave another opportunity to the non-tax filers to file their income tax returns by the end of ongoing month (March).

“In exercise of the powers conferred under section 214A of Income Tax Ordinance, the Federal Board of Revenue is pleased to extend date of filing income tax return/statements for the tax years 2018 as the date of filing returns of total income and statement of final taxation which were due on 31st August and extended up to 15th December is hereby further extended to up to 31th March,” stated a circular issued by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) yesterday.

According to the circular, the FBR has also extended the date of filing income tax return/statements for companies, individuals and association of persons which were due on 30th September and extended up to December 15 is hereby further extended up to 31th March 2019.

The number of tax returns filers had surged up to 1.4 million on previous deadline (December 15 2018) as compared to 1.1 million last year. The number of taxpayers in Pakistan had risen by 30 percent in last one year. Meanwhile, the government has given another opportunity to non-tax filers to file their returns. Otherwise, the FBR initiated action against non-taxpayers. In the first phase, the FBR had issued notices to around 6500 non-taxpayers. However, it had recovered only around two billion rupees from them.

The FBR has now decided to expedite the process of issuing notices to those who had already been identified by the tax department. An official said that FBR had identified some 20,000 high net-worth non-filers. In a recent development, the FBR has issued notices to more than 200 parliamentarians for non-filing their income tax returns in 2018 and asked them to file their returns within 30 days. The non-filers list included members of National Assembly, Senate and four provincial assemblies.

Prior to this, on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan for launching crackdown against the influential and the rich, tax authorities have selected 100 celebrities/notables who would be served with notices as required under the law. All those notables who are living beyond their means will be brought into tax net in order to create deterrence for effective enforcement.

The government had decided to start action against all those tax evaders who have purchased properties of 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. 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 fulfil their tax obligations.