ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, inaugurated the much-awaited Track & Trace System of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Friday at Pakistan Tobacco Company Jhelum. This special ceremony was also attended by Chairman FBR Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed along with Qaiser Iqbal, Member (IR Operations) and Tariq Sheikh, Project Director (TTS). The CEO of Pakistan Tobacco Company Ali Khan welcomed the Chief Guest and other dignitaries present on the occasion, says a message received here Friday.
Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue in his speech congratulated FBR for rolling out this significant project which would help prevent leakage of revenue, under-reporting of production and sales of tobacco products and ensure proper payment of FED and Sales Tax on the manufacture and sale of the products.
“TTS is a very comprehensive and robust electronic monitoring system, which is a paradigm shift from conventional physical monitoring system. It is believed that installation of the Track and Trace System (TTS) in the notified sectors would be a game changer for improving revenue and curbing counterfeit products in the market,” Financed Minister added.
While highlighting the persistent efforts of FBR for rolling out this project, the Finance Minister stated that it was heartening to see that FBR had successfully issued a license and subsequently, signed a contract with AJCL/Mittas/Authentix Consortium for installation of Track and Trace System (TTS) on 5th March, 2021.
This System is to be developed, operated and maintained by the licensee for notified sectors including Tobacco products manufactured in and imported into Pakistan. For this purpose, FBR was striving hard to implement the system for last 12 years, but unfortunately, it resulted in 5 unsuccessful attempts. However, in its sixth attempt, FBR has procured one of the best Track & Trace System (TTS) available after strenuous efforts of over a decade.
Finance Minister further added that our prime objective was to take the tax-to-GDP ratio to 20% in coming years which currently stood at 8-12%. He surmised that currently tax evasion of Rs.70 billion was being done in tobacco sector which made 37% of market share. He also stated that Economic Advisory Council had been directed to identify more sectors where Track and Trace System could be installed to increase revenue.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman FBR Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed thanked Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue on gracing this important event. While highlighting the features of this project, Chairman FBR stated that the electronic monitoring of common-use products right from the entry-point into the supply chain, that is, production or import till the exit-point, that is, purchase by end-consumer – broadly referred to as Track & Trace System (TTS) – is being viewed as a watershed development in maximizing revenue potential in the notified sectors.
“TTS entails application of Unique Identification Marks (UIMs) or Tax Stamps carrying covert, semi-covert, overt, forensic and digital features enabling electronic traceability of goods across the supply chain,” Chairman added.
Chairman FBR further stated that the UIMs applied on industrial products would help identify, isolate, and curb the production, supply and movement of untaxed, counterfeit and smuggled goods thereby strengthening governance and rule of law in Pakistan. “Presently, TTS is used in over 80 countries to apply about 10 trillion UIMs on various products, across the globe,” he recalled.
He reaffirmed that this system would be further strengthened by vigilant, efficient and fully equipped Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) and the Federal Government had already allocated Rs.435 million for purchase of vehicles, state of the art equipment and latest technology driven gadgets for the Enforcement Network.
“The IREN will be able to combat evasion and leakages of taxes and duties payable on notified goods, through the Enforcement Squads that shall patrol the designated routes on which specified goods are moving and check a vehicle or any place of storage, wherein reportedly such specified goods are being transported, stored or kept,” he explained. In addition to tobacco, FBR is also preparing to implement TTS in sugar, Fertilizer and Cement Sectors in the near future.
Meanwhile, the FBR has announced here Saturday that unlike in the past, Federal Board of Revenue uploaded forms for filing of Income Tax Returns for TY 2021 on July 01, 2021 and thus afforded taxpayers the statutory period of 90 days to file their tax returns by Sep 30, 2021.
On numerous occasions, FBR reiterated its principled stance that it would not extend this period beyond the given deadline i.e. September 30.
At the same time, FBR launched a comprehensive campaign on mainstream electronic and print media to maximize its outreach and awareness. Besides, FBR also engaged with national heroes and celebrities to disseminate the same message on social media. All cellular companies were mobilized to send customized messages to their 130 million combined subscribers, across the country.
The above unparalleled awareness campaign reached every household and sensitized general public about the critical value of tax compliance. This resulted in an immense traffic of taxpayers on FBR website and for the first time ever over 1.8 million returns were filed within 90 days ending on September 30. Only in last three days, FBR received around 600,000 returns from all over Pakistan.
This extraordinary interest in existing and new taxpayers put huge pressure on FBR IRIS online portal which caused occasional disruptions and adversely affected its functional efficiency, particularly on September 30 being the last day.
Keeping in view the unprecedented increase in users of our website and the hardships they faced owing to technical hiccups, FBR notified one time extension of 15 days on September 30 and extended the return filing deadline till October 15, 2021.
Therefore, it is positively hoped that the taxpayers both old and new will benefit from this extended timeline and thus file their tax returns well ahead of the final date i.e. October 15.
It is further reaffirmed that the extension given on September 30 was only due to the fact that FBR’s IT System got overloaded and since that has been fixed now, no more extension will be allowed beyond October 15, 2021.