ISLAMABAD - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has drastically slow down its drive of broadening extremely low tax base of the country after facing major setback of bouncing back of 22,000 notices sent out by the tax department to influential and wealthy tax dodgers due to wrong mailing addresses.

Dr Muhammad Iqbal, SA to Chairman FBR, stated this while talking to the selective group of journalists along with Riffat Shaheen Qazi member FATE (Facilitation & Taxpayers’ Education) and official spokesperson of the tax department. He said that FBR wants to streamline the record of earlier notices issued to the non-taxpayers; therefore it has slow down the process of serving notices to broaden the extremely low tax base of the country, which is around 8.5 percent of the GDP, he added.

Dr Iqbal informed that FBR has served only 1700 notices to influential and wealthy tax dodgers in the month of October against of 10,000 issued every month during first three months (July-September) of the current fiscal year 2013-14 mainly due to major blow, as two-thirds of the notices, around 22,000, could not be delivered on the addresses given in the records of Nadra. The FBR wants to streamline the process of issuing notices to non-taxpayers, he added.

Dr Iqbal said that FBR would start tax assessment of those non-taxpayers in November, which were given notices earlier but they did not respond. Above 500 new taxpayers had paid taxes Rs 20,000 on average, which is far better than the tax paid by the earlier taxpayers i.e. Rs 17,000 on average. The numbers of new taxpayers would improve with the passage of time, he added.

Dr Muhammad Iqbal, who is also head of FBR’s team for the coordination and monitoring of broadening of tax base activities, has said that FBR is committed to issue notices to 100,000 to influential and wealthy tax dodgers during ongoing fiscal year 2013-14 as committed with the international monetary fund (IMF).

Talking about the differences with Nadra over wrong mailing addresses, the FBR’s senior officer said that both institutions are negotiating for sharing data of the non-taxpayers. However, he made it clear that FBR is not using Nadra’s data for issuing notices. Dr Iqbal said that FBR is using different sources including data of property and vehicles for broadening of tax base of the country. 

He said that FBR has not used its power to access the bank accounts of the non-taxpayers to broaden the tax base of the country. He further said that FBR might review its agreement with courier service (Leopards Courier) on account of multiple issues related to its non-serviceability, migration or wrong addresses.

It is worth mentioning here that Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa has called the press conference second time in last one week but did not address to the media due to reasons best known to him.