Islamabad, August 22, 2013 (PPI-OT): An Advisory Committee comprising representatives of ICCI and Regional Tax Office (RTO) Islamabad may be formed to facilitate taxpayers, to avoid any element of harassment in business community and to improve tax revenue, said Mian Saeed Iqbal, Chief Commissioner, RTO, Islamabad while addressing a large number of traders and industrialists at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said the said Committee should hold monthly meetings to analyze development and address problems of businessmen with Zafar Bakhtawari as focal person from ICCI. He said RTO in collaboration with ICCI wants to resolve the issues of restaurants owners /professionals amicably to facilitate them for tax compliance.
Sardar A. Khawaja Commissioner RTO Zone-I, Sarfraz Ahmed Commissioner RTO Zone-II, Masood Akhtar Additional Commissioner RTO and Amir Javed Deputy Commissioner RTO were also present at the occasion.
The Chief Commissioner RTO Islamabad assured that no harassment measures would be taken and FBR would try to woo taxpayers for tax compliance in collaboration with ICCI. He said ICCI would be taken on board for addressing business community concerns about tax matters. He said honest officers have been brought in RTO, Islamabad and they have been instructed to deal with taxpayers courteously to ensure their dignity. If any tax officer found involved in corruption, he will not be spared.
Mian Saeed Iqbal said tax refund matters are being streamlined with automation of system and refund cases would now be disposed off within 45 days. He said government is committed to improve tax-to-GDP ratio as without tax revenue, no country can grow and develop. All government officers have now to file their tax returns along with showing their wealth statements.
He said many registered taxpayers in Islamabad are not filing tax returns and emphasized that ICCI should play its positive role for tax compliance by all entrepreneurs who are capable to pay tax. He stressed that ICCI should help FBR in identifying new taxpayers so that with joint efforts, we could improve tax revenue.
In his welcome address, Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said businessmen regularly pay tax to strengthen the economy and are ready to collaborate with FBR for enhancing tax-to-GDP ratio. However, he stressed that government should ensure transparent utilization of tax revenue. He said tangible measures to bring improvement in people life with tax money would restore the confidence of taxpayers and help in better tax compliance.
He said government should develop a fair taxation system as current tax system is quite discriminatory. He said despite facing energy crisis and other problems, industry is contributing 66 percent share in tax revenue while its share in GDP is just 26 percent. On the other hand, agriculture with 21 percent share in GDP is paying less than 1 percent to tax revenue. He said all exemptions should be eliminated and every taxable income should be brought into the tax net to improve tax revenue of the country.
He said self-assessment scheme of FBR had helped in improving tax revenue and no measures should be taken that create any harassment in businessmen. He said tax collection in 55 years from 1947-2002 was Rs.400-billion and increased in 10 years from 2002-2013 to around Rs.2000-billion showing five times hike but the tragedy is that our expenses has shown 7 times increase from Rs.500-billion in 2002 to Rs.3500-billion in 2013. So the real dilemma of our economy is that expenditure side has not been properly controlled.
He said the current tax target of Rs.2400-billion can be achieved by expanding the tax base and assured that ICCI would fully cooperate with FBR to expand the tax base to improve tax revenue of the country. Many businessmen highlighted their tax related problems and offered useful suggestions to address issues and improve tax income.
For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road,
Mauve Area, G-8/1,
Tel: +9251 225 0526 and 225 3145
Fax: +9251 225 2950