The All Pakistan Business Forum has expressed serious concerns over the Government’s decision to impose new taxes of Rs.500 Billion in the upcoming national budget. The common man across the nation is already suffering, and the masses are not ready to accept this additional tax burden, while the decision will also intensify the economic challenges faced by the business community.
The President of APBF - Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi stated that: “The trade and industrial experts suggest that; Instead of levying additional taxes on the masses, the government of Pakistan should grant greater autonomy to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) ,to raise the tax collections by trillions. Globally it has been proven that the countries that accorded autonomous status to their tax-authorities, have seen growth of 40 to 120 percent in their revenues. With the current economic pressures on the citizens, this plan to put extra tax of Rs.500 billion seems unfair and counter-productive. as it will open new floodgates for rampant corruption and debilitating inflation.”
Mr. Qureshi further said that; “The government should not over-burden the masses, and it should rather initiate reforms in the FBR to provide financial relief to the masses, while boosting its revenues through other measures like; broadening the tax-net, controlling corruption and overcoming the large-scale tax-evasion in the country.
At present, only around one million people are filing their annual tax returns in country, while earlier in the 1990s, this figure had gone up to 1.6 million. This trend indicates increasing mistrust among the taxpayers, which leads to more tax-evasion. The 35,000 taxpayers that pay tax of more than half a million Rupees each are being focused, while the millions of tax-evaders are not being identified or penalized. The honest tax-payers are targeted through audits, notices and raids, which creates a very negative impression of these law-abiding enterprises, traders and professionals.This is a great disincentive which promotes an undocumented economy. Mr. Qureshi commented.
According to a World Bank report, a Pakistani industrialist having businesses in all four provinces is forced to pay an excessive amount of tax which is 95 times more. Due to the red-tapism it takes him approximately 598 hours per annum to prepare his tax documents. On the other hand a businessmen in Singapore has to pay his tax six times in a year, while a Malaysian businessman pays his tax 14 times per annum.