Pakistan Pushing for Greater Tax Transparency

March 3, 2014 Taxation in Pakistan

Tax Transparency in PakistanISLAMABAD – The government of Pakistan is trying to improve tax transparency in the country, but the national media is alleging that authorities are still trying to hide the full impact of tax breaks being given out.

In an effort to improve tax transparency and boost tax collection levels in Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue will publish within 3 months a new report with the names and details of all 900 000 currently registered taxpayers in the country, according to a statement made at the National Assembly by the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The complete list of taxpayers follows on the heels of a recent report by the FBR to list the tax details of each Member of Parliament, in order to address and dispel the persistent allegations that a significant portion of politicians either aren’t registered to pay tax or do not pay the full amount owed.

During his announcement the Finance Minister also indicated that the FBR is is looking to reduce the number of discretionary tax exemptions being offered to individuals and businesses in the country, as removing such hidden preferential tax treatment is one of the conditions of Pakistan receiving ongoing financial support from the International Monetary Fund.

Soon after the Minister’s statement the national media alleged that a full report has already been prepared by the FBR on the extent and number of discretionary tax exemptions, or statutory regulatory orders, being offered to large businesses and high ranking individuals, however, the information is now being purposely withheld by authorities.

The media further suggested that the report has not been made public as the contained information highlights the poor amount of oversight involved in granting the tax exemptions, and the data may counteract the government’s claims that tax transparency and compliance is improving in Pakistan.

Photo by: Paul Simpson