ISLAMABAD  - Chief Commissioner RTO Islamabad, Mian Saeed Iqbal assured the business community that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would try to woo taxpayers for tax compliance in collaboration with ICCI.

   Addressing a large number of traders and industrialists at ICCI, Mian Saeed Iqbal said the ICCI would be taken on board for addressing business community concerns about tax matters.

   He said honest officers have been brought in RTO, Islamabad and they have been instructed to deal with tax payers courteously to ensure their dignity. If any tax officer was found involved in corruption, he will not be spared.

   Mian Saeed Iqbal said tax refund matters are being streamlined with automation of system and refund cases would now be disposed off within 45 days.

   He said government is committed to improve tax-to-GDP ratio as without tax revenue, no country can grow and develop. All government officers have to file their tax returns along with showing their wealth statements.

He said many registered taxpayers in Islamabad are not filing tax returns and emphasized that ICCI should play its positive role for tax compliance by all entrepreneurs who are capable of paying tax.

   He stressed that ICCI should help FBR in identifying new taxpayers so that with joint efforts, we could improve tax revenue.

   An Advisory Committee comprising representatives of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and Regional Tax Office (RTO) Islamabad may be formed to facilitate taxpayers, to avoid any element of harassment in business community and to improve tax revenue, Mian Saeed added.

   He said the said Committee should hold monthly meetings to analyze development and address problems of businessmen with Zafar Bakhtawari as focal person from ICCI.

   He further said RTO in collaboration with ICCI wants to resolve the issues of restaurant owners /professionals amicably to facilitate them for tax compliance.

   Sardar A. Khawaja Commissioner RTO Zone-I, Sarfraz Ahmed Commissioner RTO Zone-II, Masood  Akhtar Additional Commissioner RTO and Amir Javed Deputy Commissioner RTO were also present at the occasion.

   In his welcome address, Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said businessmen regularly pay tax to strengthen the economy and are ready to collaborate with FBR for enhancing tax-to-GDP ratio.

   However, he stressed that government should ensure transparent utilization of tax revenue. He said tangible measures to bring improvement in people’s lives with tax money would restore the confidence of taxpayers and help in better tax compliance. He said the government should develop a fair taxation system as current tax system is quite discriminatory.  He said despite facing energy crisis and other problems, the industry is contributing 66 percent share in tax revenue while its share in GDP is just 26 percent.

   On the other hand, agriculture with 21 percent share in GDP is paying less than one percent to tax revenue. He said all exemptions should be eliminated and every taxable income should be brought into the tax net to improve tax revenue of the country.

   He said self-assessment scheme of FBR had helped in improving tax revenue and no measures should be taken that creates any harassment for businessmen.

   He said tax collection in 55 years from 1947-2002 was Rs.400-billion and increased in 10 years from 2002-2013 to around Rs.2000-billion showing five times hike but the tragedy is that our expenses have shown 7 times increase from Rs.500-billion in 2002 to Rs.3500-billion in 2013.

   The real problem of our economy is that THE expenditure side has not been properly controlled.

   He said the current tax target of Rs.2400-billion can be achieved by expanding the tax base and assured that the ICCI would fully cooperate with FBR to expand the tax base to improve tax revenue of the country.