LAHORE - Lahore Tax Bar Association President Qari Habib-ur-Rehman Zuberi has stressed the need for simplifying the existing tax system in the country, as revenue collection can be enhanced by 1,000 percent if tax net is broaden while tax ratio is minimised.

The LTBA president also called for discouraging the double taxation system and proposed that income tax and other taxes be simplified for the convenience of taxpayers. He said the gulf between the government and the taxpayers still continues unchecked and an unfriendly atmosphere exists between the two sides. “There is thus an earnest need of educating the people for paying their taxes,” he said. He pointed out that the general perception among the taxpayers is that the money collected from them on account of taxes is misused or spent on unnecessary projects; as such they do not find any development from their money utilisation.

Zuberi said that trend of litigation was increasing because of faults in the system. He said around 36,000 companies were registered in the country out of which 22,000 are registered in Lahore but only a few thousand people are paying taxes.

He urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) not to put more burden on those companies already paying taxes rather take action against those who are not contributing in the national kitty and bring them to tax net. He said only this would help putting the country on path of economic recovery. He regretted that the planners resort to increase the tax rate instead of increasing the tax base, which is harming the economy and the investment climate in the country.

“Private sector tax professionals should have a role in the policies and compliance measures, he said, adding that no government has ever tried the concept of public-private partnership in tax sphere. He urged the government to eliminate all exemptions and statutory regulatory orders issued to benefit vested interests.

He called for improvement in the Chief Revenue Office, enabling it to help expand the tax net instead of creating undue hurdles for those already paying taxes.  The FBR should grant permission for submission of wealth statement as short document besides allowing submission of manual tax returns as there have been a large number of businessmen who could not use online system.  LTBA had already forwarded a number of complaints to the authorities concerned in this regard but to no avail. He said that the FBR chairman should take note and ensure smooth filing of tax returns. He demanded of the Federal Finance Minister and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue to remove complexities in Pakistan Revenue Automation (Pvt.) Ltd system as it is creating multiple problems for tax payers.

Zuberi reiterated reforms in the taxation system as the existing structure had been more of a hindrance than a support to the normal flow of commercial activities.