ISLAMABAD: Amongst various innovative initiatives launched by FBR to maximize tax compliance through digitization of business transactions, automation of its operations and facilitation of taxpayers, Point of System is one key intervention which aims to monitor sales made by Tier-1 Retailers across Pakistan. Adding value to this critically important sector and plug revenue leakages, FBR has launched an aggressive awareness campaign on the mainstream national media to educate and engage consumers in order to ensure that tax collected from them at the point of sale is deposited into state exchequer and not pocketed by the retailers themselves.
Furthermore, the campaign also encompasses a prize scheme worth Rs.53 Million to be disbursed among 1007 lucky winners through a transparent computerized ballot to be held on 15th of every month at FBR Headquarters, Islamabad. The first ballot has already been conducted in front of the TV Channels and the winners were contacted live during the ceremony and congratulated by Chairman FBR himself over the phone call. Around 800 winners have also been transferred prize money into their accounts after the due diligence and required verification. This is truly an unprecedented example of involving citizens in tax compliance and raise their awareness about their national responsibility to not pay their due tax but also safeguard the same from being stolen on its way to national exchequer.
The ongoing outreach campaign and the prize scheme have started paying the desired dividends as numbers speak for themselves. In January, FBR has witnessed that over 1,53,000 invoices were verified by customers who shopped from outlets integrated with FBR POS System as against 45000 in December when the campaign was launched. Likewise, around 37 Million invoices were issued by Tier-1 Retailers which are integrated with FBR POS System in January as compared to 33 million in December, 2021, registering a steady growth of 4 million.
The number of customers has jumped from 10,000 to 27,000 within one month who successfully verified their invoices. However, 29,000 invoices issued by Tier-1 Retailers couldn’t be verified which are presumably fake. This is a phenomenal increase in public participation and is likely to further grow with every passing day.
The second computerized ballot is to be held on 15th February (Tuesday evening) at FBR Headquarters, Islamabad. It is so why reassuring to see that people at large are excited to engage in this exercise.
It is pertinent to mention that while addressing the participants present during the first computerized draw of POS Prize Scheme held at FBR (HQs) in the presence of national mainstream media on 15th January, 2022, Chairman FBR Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed had appealed the Pakistani citizens to launch a national movement for the promotion of a culture of tax compliance in the country.
He had suggested a three pronged strategy to ensure that Sales Tax collected from customers at the point of sale was actually being deposited in the state exchequer. He had proposed that people should shop only from those Tier-1 retail outlets which were integrated with FBR POS System, demand computerized invoice (Pakki Receipt), and finally verify the same through FBR Tax Asaan App.
It is so very reassuring to witness that citizens have started responding to his call and are demanding Pakki Receipt from the retail outlets.
FBR has already distributed prizes worth Rs. 53 million among the lucky 1007 winners in the first computerized ballot held on 15th January, 2022. It is also heartening to see that people are showing a lot of interest in becoming part of next computerized draw, which will be held on 15th February, 2022.
It is further encouraging to witness that a huge number of customers are verifying their shopping receipts through FBR’s Tax Asaan Mobile App and SMS. People are also reaching out to the Field Formations as well as FBR (HQs) to seek necessary guidance about this innovative Prize Scheme. Some of the responsible citizens have started sharing their invoices directly to senior management not only to discharge their national duty but also to register their support for this digital intervention made by FBR. This rare zeal and exemplary commitment shown by huge number of people at large is a testimony to their trust in FBR and its innovative prize scheme. This spirit has already triggered an increased sense of responsibility in the people at large to become the watchmen of their tax collected by the retailers in order to ensure that the same is safely deposited in the national exchequer.
This initiative of engagement of customers is all set to pick momentum and thus accelerate the desired national drive to promote tax compliance and substantially increase revenues. It also aims to incentivize people to play their role as responsible citizens and compliant taxpayers. The POS Prize Scheme is providing an opportunity to people to win cash prizes after they shop from Tier-1 POS integrated retail outlets by verifying their receipts through Tax Asaan App or SMS.
Therefore, FBR has once again appealed to all the citizens across Pakistan to always ask for computerized invoice with a bar code (Pakki receipt) whenever they go for shopping so that they could participate in the computerized draw to be held on 15th of every month, without fail.
Meanwhile, building on its momentum to maximize tax compliance, Federal Board of Revenue’s Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) Squads, has seized 93,526,800 illegal cigarettes worth Rs. 225,382,680 involving duties and taxes of Rs. 183,904,753 in the seven months of FY 2021-22. Likewise, during the month of January, 2022, IREN has seized non duty / tax paid cigarettes of Rs. 29,708,028 (approximately 13,080,000 sticks) resulting in detection of evasion of duties and taxes worth Rs. 27,769,698.
It is pertinent to mention that IREN was established in September 2019 with a Chief Coordinator, Central Field Coordinator and seven regional enforcement hubs all across Pakistan, tasked to conduct raids and seizures on the counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes. As a part of ongoing crackdown against illicit cigarette trade country wide, all IREN hubs have intensified their operation against businesses dealing in non-duty paid and counterfeit cigarettes to save national exchequer from revenue loss.
Moreover, IREN has also been entrusted to ensure its enforcement in entire supply chain of Sugar Industry. For this purpose, the Chief Coordinator IREN and his Regional Enforcement Squads across Pakistan are geared to conduct raids and ensure seizures on the non-tax paid sugar stocks, which move out of the factory premises/warehouses without tax stamps. As a result, IREN Squads have intensified their operations in every nook and corner of the country, against the non-compliant supply chain operators dealing in sugar sector in order to maximize revenue potential.
Shaukat Fayaz Tarin, Minister for Finance & Revenue has appreciated the performance of IREN Squads and announced cash reward for those officers, who conducted successful raids. He stated that Track & Trace system coupled with IREN’s valiant drive would help overcome the menace of non-tax paid goods in the market