A game of digits

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Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Member Inland Revenue Shahid Hussein Asad has said that efforts are being made to bring down sales tax to single digit in next few years. It is being considered to exempt annual income up to 350,000 per annum from the income tax. These views were expressed by him while speaking at a pre-budget seminar arranged by the Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA) at the Regional Tax Office (RTO) here on Saturday. LTBA President Zahid Attiq Chaudhry, Joint Secretary Naeem Khan, former presidents Naeem Shah, Zia Haider Rizvi, Farhan Shahzad and other senior lawyers were present on this occasion. Member Inland Revenue said that the coming budget would be a people friendly budget and instead of putting extra burden on taxpayers new taxpayers would be brought under tax net. He claimed that instead of levying new taxes ratio of existing taxes would be brought down in the coming budget. He said that National Tax Number (NTN) must be issued within 72 hours but issuing of sales tax require verifications so it get more time than issuance of NTN. He said that most of the budget proposals presented by the Bar had been approved while as far as bringing down the sales tax ratio is considered, he was serious to bring it down to single digit in next few years. Shahid Hussein Asad said that Pakistan was passing through a crucial juncture. He said that FBR was collecting around Rs 1952 billion at present out of which Rs 900 billion was spent on debt servicing, which should had been spent on social welfare and uplifting of common man. He termed tax as dividend of economy and said that a strong economy could give better dividend so the government should take steps to improve the economy.
Drawing the attention of the office-bearers of the tax bar, he said that almost all the proposals sent by the Bar had been approved as most of these were also forwarded by different chambers, ICAP and other business organizations. He said that increase in tax base is a joint venture of the FBR and Tax Bar and urged the Lahore Tax Bar Association President Zahid Attique Chaudhry to play their role in national development. Earlier speaking on this occasion LTBA President Zahid Attique Chaudhry said that short term policies to increase revenue should be abolished and the Board should adopt a long-term policy. He also called for taking steps to increase trust between the taxpayer and tax collectors. He said that audit cases should be selected on solid evidences.