PM SHEHBAZ PRIORITISES TAX SYSTEM DIGITISATION TO CURB BILLIONS IN EVASION

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has emphasised the government’s priority of digitising the taxation system to prevent tax evasion worth billions of rupees. He directed the relevant authorities on Friday to immediately create a dashboard to monitor the ongoing digitisation and implementation of the reforms.
Chairing a meeting to review the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) reforms process, the prime minister instructed that taxable non-filers be brought into the tax net, discretionary powers of customs appraisers be revoked, and sought an implementation report from the FBR chairman within 24 hours.
During the briefing on FBR’s digitisation, it was revealed that 4.5 million taxable individuals who were not part of the tax net had been identified. Additionally, over 300,000 more individuals filed their tax returns within a few weeks as a result of the government’s measures.
The meeting also disclosed that refunds for 4,000 companies had been halted in the last two weeks following the detection of under-invoicing and forged sales tax refunds.
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PM Shehbaz stated that both tax evaders and the officers and staff facilitating them would be punished, and assured that those fulfilling their tax responsibilities on time would be acknowledged. He also requested a comprehensive report on the magnitude of tax evasion and measures for its prevention. 
The prime minister vowed to introduce a taxation system of international standards in the country and called for engaging well-reputed professionals and experts to formulate tax policy. He sought a comprehensive strategy for FBR’s digitisation and reforms, along with set targets for the next meeting.
He further announced plans to install state-of-the-art scanners at seaports to ensure transparency and prevent corruption in the system. 
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Muhammad Aurangzeb and Ahad Khan Cheema, Minister of State Ali Pervaiz Malik, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ehsan Afzal, FBR chairman, Pakistan Business Council CEO Ehsan Malik, and Karandaz CEO Waqasul Hassan while Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Naveed Andrabi, Asif Pir, and Ali Malik joined the meeting via video link.

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