Tax returns filing drops to 690,000


Tax returns filing witnessed a decline of eight per cent in 2015 from a year ago despite several extensions in the deadline.

The number of tax filers reached 690,000 till Jan 2, 2016 as against 750,000 returns filed in the corresponding period last year.

Official figures available with Dawn showed on Tuesday that 550,000 e-returns were received by the FBR during the period under review. Moreover, a 140,000 manual returns were also received during the period.

A senior tax official told Dawn that the e-filed returns this year witnessed a positive growth compared to the same period last year. Whereas, the manual filing dropped mainly due to individuals who did not file return as they wanted to avail concessions under the proposed tax amnesty scheme for non-filers. People who fall in this category are allowed under the law to file manual returns.

E-filing of tax returns is mandatory for salaried individuals, companies and associations of persons (AoPs). The government has already extended the last date for filing of tax returns for salaried and non-salaried individuals and association of persons until January 31, 2016.

According to the tax official, the last date is expected to be extended further to Feb 29, 2016.

The FBR has failed in broadening the tax base significantly as only a few thousand new taxpayers filed their returns on a voluntary basis during the period.

The tax authorities sent around 233,000 notices to potential taxpayers till Dec 31, 2015, but only 33,000 of them filed their tax returns.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2016