ISLAMABAD: Haroon Akhtar Khan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue has asked the non-filers to file their tax returns of 2014 by 28th February 2016 and get exemption from withholding tax deduction on their banking transactions, says a press release.
 
Addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said that government has adopted a soft approach on withholding tax and it was a good opportunity for non-filers to declare their hidden assets, sales and turnovers honestly and file their tax returns that would be accepted without questioning them. Mr. Shahid Hussain Asad Member IR Policy and Mr. Nadeem Dar Member Facilitation FBR were also present at the occasion.
 
Haroon Akhtar Khan said traders are doing legitimate business and they should come into the formal sector. He said that government is facing huge difference of Rs.1700 billion between revenue and expenditure and it is ready to give more incentives in consultation with business community to bring non-filers into the tax net to improve tax-to-GDP ratio. 
 
He said government is working to develop an integrated database that will help in identifying all potential taxpayers. However, government intends to improve tax collection by taking stakeholders on board. He assured that no illegal action of FBR against taxpayers will be tolerated and strong action would be taken against wrongdoers. He said genuine complaints against tax matters should be forwarded to FBR through Chambers and Trade Bodies that will be looked into for remedial measures.
 
In his address, Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that I&I Department of FBR should immediately halt raids on business premises and forced debits from bank accounts should also be stopped forthwith because such tactics are creating lot of harassment in the businessmen. He suggested that one house and one office should also be regularized in the wealth tax statement. He said during pre-budget consultations, government did not discuss WHT on banking transactions and imposed it unilaterally which created problems.
 
 He stressed that government should address concerns of traders on 0.3% WHT and always consult with stakeholders including business community before levy of any new tax to avoid any protests in future.M. ShakeelMunir Senior Vice President and M. AshfaqHussainChatha Vice President ICCI stressed upon the need of timely return of sales tax refunds as billions of rupees of taxpayers refunds are stuck up with FBR creating cash flow problems for them.
 
Abdul RaufAlam, Group Leader ICCI said that there is a communication gap between the taxpayers and tax department due to which taxpayers are losing confidence in FBR. He urged that FBR should always take business community on board before imposing any new tax that will help in broadening the tax base of the country. Zubair Ahmed Malik, former President FPCCI said that government should control its own expenditures and step up efforts to improve exports in order to improve fiscal space. 
 
Mian AkramFarid, Senior Vice President FPCCI, Mian ShaukatMasud, Atif Ikram, Sheikh Waheed, Khalid Chaudhry, Nadeem Mansoor and others also highlighted various tax issues including around 30% tax on rental income, 5% tax on foreign education fee and requested FBR to look into these matters to address concerns of taxpayers.