ISLAMABAD - Finding no other way to increase the revenue collection, the PML-N government has withheld huge refunds amount worth Rs97 billion of the taxpayers during ongoing financial year 2013-2014 to show impressive growth in the annual tax collection.

“The Federal Board of Revenue has withheld Rs 97 billion outstanding refunds of the taxpayers, which is less than the amount Rs 99 billion of the last year”, Chairman FBR Tariq admitted before the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The government’s claim of achieving more than 16 per cent growth in tax collection was exposed by the FBR chairman, who admitted that tax department has withheld huge amount of refunds, helped in showing higher growth. FBR has collected Rs 1671 billion during ongoing financial year (July to April 21) FY2014 wherein Rs 97 billion is of refunds of the taxpayers. The FBR’s collection is around Rs 1571 billion after deducting refunds amount.

Apart from holding Rs 97 billion, the FBR has refunded Rs 87.3 billion in the ongoing financial year, which is 14.1 per cent higher than the refunds of Rs 76.5 billion of previous year. The PML-N government is struggling to achieve the revenue collection target despite imposing billions of rupees taxes in the budget 2013-2014. The annual revenue collection target has been revised downward to Rs 2345 billion for the FY2014 from budgetary target of Rs 2475 billion.

“FBR is hopeful to achieve the revised target of Rs 2345 billion by end of June 2014”, said the FBR chairman, adding that reduction in imports due to rupee appreciation is decreasing the revenue collection, as 41% per cent of the taxes come from imports.

The FBR has provisionally collected Rs 1,670.89 billion during July-April 22 against Rs 1,449.79 billion in the same period last fiscal year, reflecting an increase of 15.3 per cent. In April, the FBR provisionally collected Rs 96.195 billion in first 22 days against Rs 97.505 billion in April 2013, showing a decrease of 1.3 per cent.