ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly on Tuesday recommended that the National Identity Cards of tax defaulters be blocked and an article to this effect be included in the new finance bill. The Committee also recommended blocking the Identity Cards of those who do not follow up on cases relating to tax fraud.

Head of the PAC Sardar Ashiq Hussain Gopang said that those who commit fraud should not be forgiven.

Present during the session of the PAC, Chairman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Muhammad Irshad said that legislation would be required in order to block National Identity Cards , adding, that only the National Database and Registration Authority is empowered to do so.

PAC member Pervaiz Malik inquired whether the FBR can block the National Identity Cards of the owners of tax defaulting companies, to which Irshad replied that the FBR does not have this authority. “If the PAC recommends it, we will include an article relating to this in the new finance bill,” Irshad said.

Malik noted that a group in Faisalabad had defaulted between Rs 12b and Rs 13 billion, adding, that not only the National Identity Cards but also passports of the tax defaulters should be blocked. The PAC had reviewed the FBR’s Inland Revenue Audit Report 2013-2014 and discovered anomalies of Rs 169.74 billion. According to the report, 22 cases worth Rs 26.27 billion are pending in the courts. The FBR has so far recovered Rs 20 billion. The FBR Chairman said that the attention has been paid to reforms in the Legal Department. “Lawyers taking up cases worth billions of rupees were being paid only Rs 20,000 or Rs 30,000 a month.”The PAC can form legislation in the Parliament in relation to the pending cases,” Irshad said, adding, “In order to have the pending cases resolved as soon as possible, the judiciary should be contacted through the Attorney General.”

The FBR Chairman told the Committee that PTCL, Southern Power, Liberty Power, Saba Power and Rosh Limited are amongst the biggest tax defaulters at the moment.