Caretaker setup mulling to establish National Tax Authority


By Shahzad Paracha

ISLAMABAD: The Caretaker Federal Government is planning to establish National Tax Authority as part of the reform agenda of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), HUM News English has learnt.

Sources said that FBR Chairman Amjad Zubair Tiwana recently briefed Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar on the reform agenda of FBR.

The FBR has already started implementing the tax reforms aimed at increasing tax collections as well as separating the tax policy from administration or enforcement. The policy department might be severed from the FBR altogether, and given under the purview of the Ministry of Finance.

Sources added that the federal government might merge all tax authorities including FBR and Provincial Tax authorities into a Single National Tax Authority aiming to introduce a unified and simple taxation system.

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In addition, FBR has also finalised a plan to revamp the withholding tax regime. Sources said that retail sector has 18 percent share in the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, but its tax contribution is only 4 percent.

Under proposed reforms, all private sector banks will be bound by the government to share details of distributors as well as whole sellers to the FBR. This will be done to generate tax demand, sources added.

Sources said that the tax reform program also suggested to form a special Customs Board to manage the affairs of Pakistan Customs. At least five federal secretaries including Finance, Industries and Production, National Food Security, Commerce and Interior will be ex-officio members of the Customs Board.

The government has also reportedly decided to create a new post of ‘Member Appraisement’ in the Customs Department to separate the appraisement from operations and enforcement.

According to the sources, the government also has plans to add more sectors in the Track and Trace System under the new reform framework. Moreover, the tax authorities will also introduce an electronic invoicing system to designated sectors to monitor the entire supply chain and reduce or eliminate the risk of smuggling.

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