ISLAMABAD - The Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) would complete its works by January 24 next year by suggesting proposals to reform tax system for improving dismally low tax-to-GDP ratio for inclusion in budget for the next fiscal year 2015-16.

“The next meeting would be held on 17th January and a week afterwards, recommendations of the Commission would be finalized”, said Chairman Tax Reforms Commission, Masood Naqvi, while addressing the second TRC meeting on Tuesday.

The government on September 25 2014 had constituted Tax Reform Commission (TRC) with the mandate to deliberate upon continuation of single stage General Sales Tax (GST) or put in place multiple stages GST, granting autonomy to the FBR and establishing Border Force to curb smuggling. The TRC had given deadline to present its recommendations within 120 days on important issues related to tax structure of the country.

The Tax Reforms Commission’s second meeting concluded here on Tuesday with Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar addressing the closing session.

Briefing the Minister, the Chairman Tax Reforms Commission, Masood Naqvi, said that the Commission had detailed deliberations on various aspects of the tax collection, public facilitation matters and administrative/structural changes required to revamp the tax collection system as a whole. Six specialized committees, he said dedicatedly worked and held a number of meetings, maintaining close liaison and interaction in putting forth proposals for tax reforms.

He further said that areas the committees covered included tax policy, indirect and direct tax collection, border security/anti-smuggling measures, expansion of tax base and tax facilitation of tax payers. The Commission, Naqvi said met important business house, chambers of commerce, Pak Business Council, professionals, briefly speaking, all major stake holders. Naqvi said the next meeting would be held on 17th January and a week afterwards, recommendations of the Commission would be finalized. He said all the members of the commission take this opportunity to recognize the support offered by the Finance Minister and Chairman FBR, Tariq Bajwa in facilitating the commission in its routine work. “Our discussions have been very constructive”, Naqvi remarked. He said there were a number of suggestions on the financial side. There are suggestions to decrease the overall number of taxes also, Naqvi added, saying these would be given consideration.

The Minister at the outset said that he wanted the commission to bring forth an interim report on its deliberations and outline important proposals for consideration of the government. He emphasized that significant recommendations by the commission would be reflected in the budget 2015-16 and therefore it was imperative for the commission to finalize its report before deliberations for the budget start.

Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar on this occasion gave a brief review of the government’s measures to set the economy on the right track, a fact which has been internationally acknowledged. He said, enhancement in revenue collection was also part of government’s vision for an economically strong Pakistan and reforms were meant to help achieve the objective.

 The Minister also added that the government had passed on the full benefit of the fall in oil prices to the consumers staving off the strong urge to use this benefit to lessen fiscal deficit or retiring circular debt. He wished the Commission well for formulating recommendations for reforms in the tax system.