Raza Kazmi

ISLAMABAD: A special signing ceremony of Letter of Understanding (LoU) between Directorate of Federal Government Educational Institution Cantonments Garrisons and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was held on Wednesday at Directorate of Federal Government Educational Institution Cantonments Garrisons in line with the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan for promoting Taxation system in the country.
The ceremony was observed by Member FATE and Spokesperson FBR Syed Nadeem Hussain Rizvi, Director General Directorate of Federal Government Educational Institution Cantonments Garrisons Major General Muhammad Asghar HI (M), Chief FATE Aisha Farooq and Director Administration Directorate of Federal Government Educational Institution Cantonments Garrisons Brigadier Khalid Mahmood Shafi. The Letter of Understanding was signed by Director Administration Directorate of Federal Government Educational Institution Cantonments Garrisons Brigadier Khalid Mahmood Shafi and Chief FATE of FBR Aisha Farooq.
LoU is aimed to promote tax culture & tax awareness in all educational institutions under Directorate of Federal Government Educational Institution Cantonments Garrisons. It shall serve to foster positive taxation culture and awareness among students and teachers through different sets of activities, skills and experiential learning for making them responsible citizens. The training sessions will inculcate among the students about the significance of paying taxes and how to indicate tax evasion. Federal Board of Revenue will educate and train students and teachers through taxation syllabus, training sessions and seminars. This LoU will be applicable for three years.
FBR has decided to launch countrywide awareness sessions through seminars and training sessions to promote tax culture which will help to increase the number of taxpayers and revenue for the country.
Meanwhile, Benami Transactions Adjudicating Authority has confirmed 27 references involving amount of Rs. 7.4 billion filed against Benami Transactions by the three Anti-Benami Zones at Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore which include movable as well as immovable benami properties.
These include 5 cases of Benami shares in which Benami transaction of Rs. 159.644 million was identified, 6 references of Benami immovable properties worth Rs. 5,849.4 million, one case of Benami bank accounts worth Rs. 1040.0 million, and 16 cases of Benami vehicles worth Rs. 351.55 million.
As per law, the Ant-Benami Zones submit references in cases of suspected Benami assets before the Benami Transactions Adjudicating Authority for confirmation/ revocation of attachment of assets and then initiate confiscation proceedings.
The Adjudicating Authority, an independent authority established under the law, after due deliberation provides opportunity of being heard to the alleged benamidars and beneficial owners and the referring department as well. The Adjudicating Authority after completing all legal and administrative requirements/formalities either confirms or revokes the attachment orders issued by the Initiating Officers. The 27 references were submitted by the Benami Zones at Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore before the Adjudicating Authority which were confirmed involving Benami assets worth of Rs. 7.4 billion shall be confiscated after confirmation of orders from the Federal Appellate Tribunal as per law by the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General Intelligence and Investigation (Inland Revenue) has intensified the country wide action against tax evaders and fraudsters (individuals, AOPs and corporate entities) involved in evasion of Sales Tax, Income Tax and Federal Excise Duty in line with the directions of Federal Government and Chairman FBR.
In this regard, Directorates of Intelligence and Investigation (Inland Revenue) has expedited the crackdown against tax fraudsters based on credible evidence and following due process of law based on legal provisions laid down in various tax statutes.
Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation-IR, Islamabad has detected a big case of sales tax evasion. As per the intelligence gathering, one of the Islamabad based plywood manufacturing unit was involved in evasion of sales tax by suppressing its taxable supplies in monthly sales tax returns. Pursuant upon the information and in order to safeguard the public revenue, a raid was conducted and premises of the said unit were searched under section 38 and 40 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. During the search, various record including invoices, receipt book, CPUs have been impounded and its scrutiny is underway. Furthermore, two raids were conducted by the Islamabad Directorate on 22nd December against two un-registered businesses located in Chakwal involved in huge tax evasion. Record has been impounded and its scrutiny is underway. It is expected that quantum of tax involved will be in hundreds of millions in the three raids conducted by the Islamabad Directorate.
In a similar move, a campaign against smuggled, duty non-paid/illicit and counterfeit cigarettes, in compliance of FBR’s special directives dated 11th December, 2020 to “deploy maximum resources for control of the menace of illegal and injurious cigarettes”, the Inland Revenue Intelligence & Investigation (I&I-IR) Directorate, Faisalabad has seized 426 cartons (4,260,000 sticks) from traders in Faisalabad and Sargodha, by conducting three different actions in exercise of powers under section 38 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 and Rule 62 to 67 of the Federal Excise Rules, 2005. The seized consignments are prima facie counterfeited/non-duty paid and are accordingly taken into custody in the presence of the proprietors and the representatives of local Press Club. Estimated tax and duties evaded on the recovered merchandise in all three cases may run in Multi Million Rupees.
The Chairman Federal Board of Revenue and the Director General (Intelligence & Investigation-Inland Revenue), held meetings on this issue and the resolve of the government, FBR has accordingly been conveyed down the line as counterfeit cigarettes are not only extremely harmful from the point of view of health but at the same time causes huge losses to the national exchequer in terms of evasion of duties and taxes.
In the drive against illicit tobacco trade, the Directorate I&I-IR, Peshawar having jurisdiction over KPK Province, has taken multiple actions against trade of counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes. The surveillance squad of Peshawar Directorate, on receipt of a credible information intercepted a truck in Swabi and recovered from it 20 cartons of filter rods having no relevant documents in support of payment of excise duty and taxes. On further inquiry, the team raided godown from where the filter rods were loaded in the truck and 19 more cartons of filter rods were confiscated for lack of having documentary evidence of payment of duty/taxes. A total of 39 cartons of non-duty paid filter rods were recovered which are sufficient for production of 9,126,000 sticks of cigarettes (913 cartons) with anticipated duty/tax evasion of more than Rs. 25,000,000/- in addition to evasion of duty of Rs. 1,521,000/- being payable at clearance stage. In another action, more than 50 Cartons of counterfeit cigarettes were confiscated from two passenger vehicles in Peshawar.
On the basis of reliable information, the Directorate I&I-IR, Multan also conducted raids on two PVC manufacturers and successfully retrieved ample record and other documents. These units are involved in massive evasion of taxes by way of concealment of production/ issuance of flying invoices and incurred substantial loss of revenue to government exchequer. In an action against illicit non-duty paid tobacco trade, the Directorate I&I-IR, Multan has also seized 200,000 counterfeit/non-duty paid cigarettes and detained the stock, under section 38 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 and Rule 62 to 67 of the Federal Excise Rules, 2005.
The Directorate General Intelligence and Investigation-IR is also a Law Enforcement Agency under Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010. From 2016 to 2019, only 32 complaints (FIRs) were lodged under AMLA, 2010. Realizing the importance of the matter and to curb the menace caused by the proceeds of crime from money laundering, the Director General I&I-IR has directed all the seven Directorates of I&I-IR to take strict cognizance of money laundering without any exception but purely on merit. This drive has also produced good results and by the end of October 2020, total number of complaints (FIRs) registered under AMLA 2010 have reached 119 involving revenue of more than 88.4 Billion and an amount of Rs.6.22 Billion has been recovered so far. In this process 66 Immovable Properties and 203 Bank Accounts have been provisionally attached with the prior permission of the court under the provisions of AMLA 2010 and the cases are under trial in various courts of Special Judge Customs and Taxation, throughout the country.
The Director General (I&I-IR) has categorically stated that there is zero tolerance for tax evasion particularly those involved in Money Laundering, Tax Fraud and Terror Financing. The Director General (I&I-IR) is fully cognizant of the fact and have directed the directorates that sole-proprietors and small businesses should not be targeted because this sector of the economy has adversely been hit by Corona pandemic. However, in line with Pakistan’s “Follow The Money” policy and zero tolerance for tax fraudsters, The Director General I&I-IR has urged all the Directorates of I&I-IR to ensure prompt legal actions against the tax evaders/money launderers in accordance with the law and without any harassment to the genuine taxpayers so that credible deterrence is created in line with vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, in a major departure from the past practice, Government has provided for taxpayers to file settlement application for agreed assessment by inserting a new section 122D in the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 through Finance Act 2020.
Recently FBR has instructed its field formations to establish over-sight committees as envisaged in the law. Taxpayers whose cases have been selected in audit and have been confronted through a show-cause, may avail this opportunity by applying online to the settlement committee, conveying this intention to go for agreed assessment and tax payable thereon. The Committee will decide case within 30 days of filing of application by taxpayer.
Government is expecting that a large number of taxpayers under scrutiny will avail this opportunity. This will decrease the pressure on available FBR resources which are being spent on litigation and will provide instant relief to the taxpayers.