ISLAMABAD -  A parliamentary committee was informed Wednesday that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had issued 33,000 notices to high value unregistered taxpayers.

"We are doing mapping of 450 plazas, constructed during past 10 years, in the federal capital," the FBR officials told the Senate Committee on Finance here.  The committee which met here with Saleem Mandviwalla in chair was also informed that in Islamabad Heights, so far, 97 units were sold and 40 of the buyers are unregistered taxpayers, the FBR official informed.

FBR's Director General for Broadening of Tax Base (BTB) Tanvir Malik informed the committee that so far 33,000 notices had been issued to high value unregistered taxpayers by targeting investors in real estate, mapping of plazas and housing schemes.  Around 20,000 unregistered individuals have been identified from FBR's withholding portal for bulk registration.

"We have established close liaison with NADRA and private entity TRAKKAR for achieving the objective of broadening of tax base," he said. "Four mobile companies have provided the details of high billing customers and we are matching their data with our system," the official informed.

Senator Usman Kakar told the committee that 53 custom officials from Balochistan passed the promotion examination but only 10 were promoted.  Despite the Federal Service Tribunal decided in favour of the effectees they were not promoted, he added. The committee asked the FBR to provide the provincial wise details of the promotional quota.

FBR's Member Facilitation and Taxpayer Education (FATE) Nausheen Javaid informed the committee that 60 percent employees of private sector did not file their tax returns. To bring such individual in tax net the FBR launched campaign to contact 55 bigger companies having employees strength of 1000.

Member Inland Revenues (IR) Policy FBR, Dr Iqbal, said that it was objective of the FBR for increasing number of return filers as it stood at less than one percent in Pakistan while in India this number had gone up to 4 percent of total population.

To a query of Senator Osman Saifullah regarding using of vehicles data for broadening of tax base, DG BTB replied that they used such data keeping in mind certain limitations of such data and said that usually investors purchased vehicles by utilizing CNIC of others. He said that in one case in which 270 vehicles were registered under name of a man who was non taxpayer and was a servant of a businessman involved in cars business. He said that the FBR established dedicated BTB zones at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and such dedicated setup would be replicated in whole Regional Taxpayers Office (RTOs) in all over the country in second and third phase.

National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmad said on the occasion that the FBR team visited the head office of NBP in order to pursue the employees of our bank for filing of tax returns.

He said that the tax machinery would have to overcome element of harassment in order to promote tax culture. He said that despite being familiar with computer, he remained unable to file his own return.

FBR's Member IR Policy Dr Iqbal replied that they had developed one page return format for salaried person but it would be introduced from next year. He said that the FBR has so far received 1.220 million income tax returns in tax year 2017 against 1.4 million returns received in whole tax year of 2016.

The committee also took notice of appointment of Commissioners to Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) without approval of federal cabinet.

Finance Division Additional Secretary Abdul Akbar Sharifzada informed the committee that the cabinet had delegated the powers to the prime minister and finance minister in this regard.  The chairman of the committee however rejected the reply and said that  Ministry of Law has also dissented the decision.

The chairman of Senate Panel told the Finance Ministry that such appointments could be challenged and might be struck down by the higher judiciary.

The issue of promotions in NBP was also discussed and chairman of the committee said that promotions in NBP has become a nightmare and the committee members have received a lot of complaints in this regard.

The committee directed National Bank of Pakistan to give detail briefing on the issue of hiring during the standing committee meeting today (Thursday).