Tax Returns Are Expected to Cross the 3 Million Mark

Over the last eight months, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) received 380,000 returns from taxpayers for the tax year 2019, mostly marked by an economic lockdown linked to the coronavirus outbreak, and the figure is expected to hit the three million mark.

As per the Active Taxpayers List (ATL) released on March 1, 2020, the number of return filers by February 29, 2020 for the tax year 2019 was 2.53 million. This means that, since then, the FBR has added 380,000 more returns. Sources informed Pak Revenue that the number of income tax returns increased despite the coronavirus lockdown during the March-June period.

For the tax year 2019, the filing of income tax returns hit a record high of 2.91 million and it is moving towards the mark of three million. According to the weekly ATL updated on November 2, the FBR received 2.91 million income tax returns for the tax year 2019.

The sources said the real amount would be much higher as the list has not been added to several returns submitted manually. Furthermore, returns filed after the due date without penalty are also not included, they added.

An official at the Regional Tax Office reported that ATL is valid for the tax year 2019 until 28 February 2021, so at the end of the tax year, the FBR will be able to report three million returns.

For tax year 2018, the previous high return filing was reported at 2.85 million as per the directory of taxpayers released last month by the FBR. The official said the FBR’s steps encouraged people making big purchases to file their tax returns on wages. To take advantage of the reduced rate of withholding tax, a taxpayer must file a return and protect his name on the ATL.

The 10th schedule was implemented in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through the Finance Act 2019, under which taxpayers not appearing on the ATL would be liable to pay 100 percent further withholding tax even after filing the return.

On 1 March of each year, the FBR issues ATL on the basis of returns submitted by taxpayers by the due date for the tax year concerned.

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