Federal Board of Revenue accepts tax reports, except for few important MPs
By: Umar Cheema
ISLAMABAD: As no day passes without the tax report echoing in Parliament, the lawmakers are either investing their energy to discredit the findings of the report or misleading the public about their tax payments.
In the latest move, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s spokesperson has started white-washing the tax record of lawmakers through presenting wrong information about their taxes and on behalf of his department. Only an investigation can determine the veracity of his ‘clarifications’.
So far, he has clarified the tax position of three MNAs: Farzana Raja, Anusha Rehman, and Nadeem Afzal Chan, as well as two Senators: Mushahid Hussain Sayed, and Ishaq Dar, declaring that the findings of Centre for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan (CIRP) are untrue.
By doing so, he has acknowledged the remaining contents of the CIRP as correct. However, his clarifications about the above-said five lawmakers appear to have been selectively crafted.
As for Farzana Raja, she filed her tax return of 2011 on November 11, 2012 whereas the deadline for doing so expired on September 30, 2011. By the time this correspondent sent her a letter in June 2012 asking about 2011 taxes, the returns were not filed. It has been done just a month before the release of this report. Neither she bothered to contact even after filing this nor FBR spokesperson dared to explain when a list of the non-filers was sent for confirmation along with a supplementary question that if the non-filers were sent notices or not.
Farzana paid a paltry sum of Rs46,804 as income tax of 2011. She declared the salary as only source of her income.
Anusha Rehman and Nadeem Afzal Chan filed manual returns whereas electronic filing is mandatory. The CIRP’s report had explicitly mentioned that only those filers have been taken into account who submitted returns electronically. The FBR spokesman neither clarified this aspect nor mentioned when they filed their returns manually. Those who do electronic filing have their submission date reflected in their returns through auto-generated system. This does not happen in the manual tax returns like that of Anusha and Nadeem.
As for as their manual tax return filing is concerned, Anusha paid Rs46,832 showing the salary as her only source of income. Nadeem who declared petrol pump as source of income paid only Rs9,034 as income tax of 2011. He did not mention the income he earned that year, something that can only be skipped through the manual returns.
The spokesman said Mushahid Hussain Sayed paid Rs526 income tax in 2011. In fact, his chargeable tax for that year is Rs82 that is considered the principle tax amount. The deduction was made of Rs526 and the excess amount of Rs444 was re-adjusted in 2012.
Same is the case of Ishaq Dar. His chargeable tax for 2011 is Rs32,750. An amount of Rs119,102 was deducted from his salary income and the excess sum of Rs86, 352 was re-adjusted in 2012 tax. Railway Minister, Haji Ghulam Bilour, has been claiming that he was a taxpayer for last 50 years but skipped to explain whether or not he filed his return in 2011.
Likewise, Ch Shujat who said this not only on his own behalf but also of Ch Pervaiz Elahi and Ch Wajahat Hussain. In support of his argument, he mentioned the taxes of 2012, not of 2011, that the CIRP study is all about.