Electricity, Gas Connections Of Non-filers To Be Suspended: FBR Chief

The Senate body also approved the proposal to impose a foreign travel ban on non-filers.

Electricity, Gas Connections Of Non-filers To Be Suspended: FBR Chief

As Pakistan prepares to increase its tax receipts in the 2024–25 budget, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman has stated that non-filers' power and gas connections, as well as SIM cards, will be suspended. 

In the latest step, the Senate's Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue approved a proposal on Saturday to impose a foreign travel restriction on non-filers. Several decisions were made during the Senate session, which was chaired by Saleem Mandviwalla.

FBR Chairman Zubair Tiwana informed the upper house that those who failed to file tax returns would face Income Tax General Order (ITGO) penalties; however, exemptions would be granted to nationals performing Hajj and Umrah, children, students, and holders of the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP). 

He said that non-filers would risk having their SIM cards, gas, and electricity connections suspended and their companies shut down. 

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Farooq H. Naek emphasized at the meeting that non-filers should be subject to the same travel restrictions as those who were on the exit control list (ECL). 

Tiwana stated that the non-filers had been authorized for a higher withholding tax rate. 500,000 people with yearly incomes over $2 million were on the non-filer list, he added.

He said that the identified people have already provided their income statements along with their tax returns. The FBR's senior officer stated that temporary filers will be required to pay more tax when purchasing automobiles, plots, and dwellings. 

In addition, the Senate passed a plan to cut the wage slab and raise taxes, as well as imposing a 75% withholding tax on non-filers' cellphone and internet bills. 

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb underlined the importance of expanding the tax base, stating that the government cannot function with a tax-to-GDP ratio of only 9.5%.