The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has received a record number of returns along with the highest ever amount of income tax at the time of filing. A total of nearly 1.8 million returns have been filed together with an amount of about Rs. 22 billion.
Last year by the original tax returns filing deadline, 1.73 million returns were filed while about 13.5 billion were deposited as income tax. Comparatively, the returns are higher by 4 percent, and the tax deposited is higher by 63 percent.
However, it may be noted that by the end of June 2020, the final extended deadline for last year’s tax file returns, nearly 2.7 million returns were filed. This year the government had decided not to extend the final date of December 8, 2020, to restore the credibility of the deadline and to promote tax discipline.
At the same time, to ensure that no hardship was faced by taxpayers, several special measures were adopted. These include liberal acceptance of requests for extension in filing date as available under the law, provision to file requests manually besides the online facility, enabling tax practitioners and advisors to file a single request for multiple clients, and enabling the chief commissioners to set-up special desks for collection of manual request, and sorting their jurisdiction at their level.
The above measures have encouraged a large number of taxpayers to file extension requests, which are being granted. It is estimated that at least 300,000 taxpayers have made use of this facility, thus taking the number of potential returns to 2.1 million, which is 21 percent higher compared to last year until this date.
It is further clarified that the process of filing is continuing unabated. A comparison with the returns of last year at the close of the deadline, which was June 30, 2020, would be meaningful when the number of additional returns to be filed until June 30, 2021, is available.The last date for filing of returns was February 28 for the last tax year. However, after the expiry of the due date taxpayers had applied for another extension so that they could file the returns after the expiry of the deadline. After getting approval, late filers filed their returns till June 2020.
FBR commends the determination of taxpayers and the support it received from members of Tax Bars from all over the country, who have made such record-setting returns and income tax payments possible.
The results show that the decision not to allow general extension in the last date would go a long way toward re-establishing much-needed trust and credibility of the tax system. FBR has also decided to immediately roll-out action against the taxpayers who neither have filed the tax returns nor sought permission for an extension.
FBR had achieved this feat only because of the dedicated efforts of its chairman, members, its field formations, and the new IT team that has ensured that there was no major problem with its automated system of tax filings.
FBR is working per the vision of the Prime Minister, who has given top priority to the automation of all FBR processes. The guidance and support provided by PM’s Advisor on Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and Special Assistant to PM on Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, have also played a vital role in registering this performance.