FBR Action: Blocking SIM Cards of 2M Non-Filers in Pakistan

In compliance with directives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has initiated measures to block the SIM cards of approximately 2 million individuals suspected of tax evasion. Reports indicate that the FBR chairman has authorized the blocking of SIM cards belonging to tax evaders and has issued instructions to pertinent officials to carry out the enforcement measures.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has pinpointed 1.8 million individuals involved in tax evasion. In addition to the authority to block SIM cards of non-filers, the FBR is also empowered to disconnect electricity connections as part of its enforcement measures. Moreover, 145 district tax officers nationwide have been granted special powers to enforce actions against non-filers and tax evaders under Section 114-B.

FBR Introduces New Registration Process For Imported Mobile Phones

Following unsuccessful attempts to prompt tax compliance through notices sent to non-filers, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has now decided to block SIM cards as a punitive measure. Despite prior efforts, which included sending notices to these individuals, returns were still not filed. The move to block SIM cards comes after extensive deliberations among authorities. Notably, a nationwide crackdown against non-filers was previously postponed in January due to legal concerns.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the implementation of the SIM card blocking action is currently “delayed” due to the incomplete status of the Income Tax General Order. This delay is attributed to the potential legal challenges the FBR may encounter in court. The initiative, spurred by the IMF, involves issuing notices to hundreds of thousands of non-filers as part of a comprehensive strategy to enhance tax compliance across Pakistan.

Utility Connections for Non-Filers To Face Blockage By FBR

The decision by FBR to block SIM cards as a measure against tax evasion underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing tax compliance in Pakistan. However, the delay in implementation due to legal considerations highlights the complexity of enforcing such measures and the challenges faced by tax authorities.

As the FBR continues its efforts to crack down on non-filers and tax evaders, it remains to be seen how effective these measures will be in achieving the overarching goal of bolstering tax revenue and fostering a culture of compliance among taxpayers.

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