LAHORE: Member Income Tax Khalid Aziz Banth has said Pakistan’s tax-to-GDP ratio of 8.8 per cent is the lowest in the region and the government is taking all measures to increase the ratio in the larger interest of the country.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said the government was planning to introduce a composite audit system which would help relieve the business community of extra paperwork.

Responding to a question about anonymous complaints, the member income tax said all complaints would be verified well ahead of initiating audit proceedings.

He urged the LCCI office-bearers to bring a delegation of businessmen belonging to various sectors to Islamabad for finalising audit parameters.

He said the Income Tax Department would set up a special cell at the Lahore Chamber for e-filing and issuance of National Tax Numbers, adding the cell would facilitate LCCI members and they would be able to save a lot of time.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Muzaffar Ali said the process of tax registration was very complex and time-consuming and suggested it should be made easy to encourage new taxpayers.

“e-filing of tax returns and other statements for individuals and Association of Persons (AOPs), who are registered with the sales tax department, should be kept optional as business conditions are not conducive, and the taxpayers also need to be educated first,” he said.

The LCCI president said the requirement of digital signature for income tax e-filing was not justified as sales tax e-filing did not require any such digital authentication. In the past, he said, audit parameters were discussed and settled by the Federal Board of Revenue with the chambers and trade associations. This needed to be done again.

He urged the FBR to enforce the decision of the Lahore High Court about finality of withholding tax under Sections 234 and 235 in a true spirit. He said access to tax officials had become difficult and there was a need to give due attention to that area.

Source: The News