ISLAMABAD-Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has asked Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to aggressively follow up on its agreement with the traders to expand the tax base, work optimally to enroll nearly 20,000 points of sales in the country.

He has also asked the FBR to grant timely and full payment of tax refunds and draw up and pursue a futuristic work-plan using modern communication tools to achieve organisational targets and goals in an ongoing manner.  “An efficient and robust communication with the public and stakeholders should be at the centre of every activity undertaken by FBR to harness public support for its efforts for broadening the tax base and promoting a tax-compliant culture in the country,” he said during a visit to FBR House where he was given a detailed presentation by the Chairman FBR Mr. Shabbar Zaidi and his team on the results of various revenue collection initiatives and reforms, key challenges, public facilitation and confidence-building measures to boost the revenue growth and resource mobilisation. Secretary Finance Naveed Kamran Baloch, Special Secretary Finance Omar Hamid Khan and Members of FBR were also present.

Earlier, Chairman FBR told the Adviser that FBR had registered 16.3 per cent revenue growth by collecting Rs2,083.2 billion as per provisional figures for the period between July-December 2019, netting Rs 292.3 billion more than the revenue collected during the corresponding period last year. Similarly, he said that more than 2.168 million tax returns had been received by FBR by 31st of December 2019 and at least 600,000 more people were likely submit their returns in the time extended till end January 2020.

The Chairman also dilated on the domestic tax collection which had picked significantly showing 21 per cent growth in domestic income tax, 34 per cent growth in domestic sales tax and 25.6 per cent increase in domestic federal excise duty, raising the share of domestic revenue to Rs1,172 billion in the overall tax collection so far as against Rs934.5 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Mr. Shabbar Zaidi said the FBR had doubled its focus on the taxpayer facilitation and automation of processes and now all steps of interaction of taxpayers with the department, including registration, issuance of certificates, returning filing, audit and monitoring were fully automated. He said FBR had given away tax refunds worth Rs100 billion to the taxpayers so far this year as against Rs 36 billion refunds given last year. 

The Adviser lauded the Chairman FBR and his team for a commendable performance and asked them to redouble their efforts for an optimal revenue collection in view of the current economic condition of the country where the people were looking more towards FBR because each dollar not earned by the revenue authority would have to be borrowed from somewhere else, affecting the future choices of the country.

He also advised the FBR management to follow an integrated media and communication plan using all modern tools of information and expertise of top-level service and content providers in the market to communicate with the public and share with them on a consistent basis the results of efforts on revenue collection and tax facilitation, particularly its agreement with the traders and the follow-up work afterwards, enrolment of 20,000 new POS (point of sales), progress on release of tax refunds, information about changes in Form H and the result of other reforms undertaken so far by the FBR. “These areas should be the focus of the FBR team in the new year,” emphasised the Adviser.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said all his support was available to the FBR team for their honest work and he hoped that the revenue collection arm of the government would not disappoint the nation and work harder to fulfil the expectations of the Prime Minister.

The Chairman FBR said that he had appointed five new complaint commissioners for the redress of complaints and by March many of the pending cases would be resolved. He also committed to provide results of their sector-wise collection and progress on new initiatives and implementation of reforms to the Adviser in the next week.