The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) released its 2019 fiscal directory for parliamentarians on Friday, which shows that former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani paid no taxes that year while Prime Minister Imran Khan paid 9.8 million rupees.
According to the document, the directory was compiled from tax returns filed manually and electronically through Jan. 3.
“This data only includes income and taxes reported on returns filed with RBF and does not include farm income tax paid to provinces, sales tax, federal excise duties, etc.”, indicates the document.
In the foreword, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said the RBF has been publishing the directory for six years.
However, this time special efforts were made to make the directory more informative “which will not only help educate taxpayers, but also encourage compliance with tax laws as a national duty,” he said. .
“The directory embodies the government’s policy in favor of better governance, accountability and transparency through public access to information,” added the Minister.
According to the data, National Assembly opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif paid 8.2 million rupees while PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari paid 0.53 million rupees.
PPP co-chair Asif Ali Zardari paid 2.2 million rupees. Senior banker and incumbent finance minister, Shaukat Tarin paid 26.6 million rupees while former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi paid 4.9 million rupees.
The tax of the Sindh chief minister, Murad Ali Shah, was 1.1 million rupees. In contrast, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar, paid 2,000 rupees.
The current Chief Minister of Balochistan, Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, 1.1 million rupees and his predecessor Jam Kamal Khan paid 11.8 million rupees. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan paid 66,258 rupees.
Among the members of the federal cabinet, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid 0.9 million rupees while Planning and Development Minister Asad Umer paid 4.3 million rupees. Energy Minister Hammad Azhar paid Rs 29,025 individually while his tax on associations of persons (AOP) stood at Rs 18.1 million.
Muttahida Qaumi-Pakistan Movement Senator Faisal Subzwari, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas and Punjab Prison Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan were among several lawmakers who paid Rs 2,000.
Opposition Senate Leader Yousuf Raza Gillani and PML-N’s Azma Zahid Bokhari paid nothing in taxes.
Tarin calls for a simplification of the tax system
Addressing a ceremony held for the launch of the fiscal directory, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said it was important for parliamentarians to make their tax returns public as this would ensure transparency and set an example for others.
He also stressed the importance of paying taxes, adding that it was imperative that everyone in the country pay taxes and that there should not be “holy cows”.
“The government is unable to help the common man because we cannot meet our current expenses with this income. So, for development expenses, we have to take out loans,” he said.
The minister also said that Pakistan’s tax system exhibited many “distortions”. “Some are taken at the federal level, some at the provincial level [but] we are not talking to each other, ”he said, adding that the authorities are now moving towards“ tax harmonization ”.
Tarin also called for simplifying the tax system. “We take withholding taxes because we can’t collect them through other means. We should have two types of taxes: income tax and consumption tax. There should be no other tax apart from this. “
The minister said the country should move towards “progressive taxation”.
He said the government was focusing on increasing the tax net, adding that there were three million taxpayers in the country. He said the RBF will now send notices to those who do not pay taxes based on information from their ID cards, bank accounts and utility bills.
“It will not be harassment, but we will present them the facts and figures,” he said, adding that it would be done in an “informed, organized and objective” manner.