LAHORE: The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) was helping to widen tax base of the province and the target of Rs83 billion achieved in the last fiscal year was not an easy task, remarked Provincial Minister for Special Education Chaudhary Shafique Ahmad.
“Traders and businessmen came to know about new sales tax on services two and a half years ago because of PRA’s field efforts while the introduction of Amanat scheme has turned out to be a good step to encourage people to pay bill and receive e-invoices at food outlets and bind restaurant/hotel owners not to skip tax,” said Ahmad on the occasion of balloting for the Restaurant Invoice Monitoring System on Monday.
He emphasised that every businessman and citizen of Pakistan generally wanted to pay tax, but without mental torture, usually caused by the tax authorities and frequent visits to tax offices.
He suggested that the PRA should improve its performance by bringing more taxpayers into the tax net through friendly behaviour and broadening the scope of gift schemes. “If people pay taxes to the government, then it has the responsibility to provide them basic amenities and rights,” he commented.
Ahmad said the Punjab government was striving to build a society based on principles of social and economic justice. “As part of our ambitious growth and development agenda, we are investing in socio-economic capital of the province.”
The minister pointed out that while paying taxes, the citizens wondered where the taxpayers’ money was going and why they should pay taxes. However, he said, the flagship programmes of the Punjab government answered those questions.
The minister claimed that taxpayers’ money was being judiciously utilised for providing affordable and decent transport services like Metro bus network and upcoming Orange Line train; designing, upgrading and managing health care services including the establishment of state-of-the-art specialised hospitals for kidney and liver transplant; improvement in the public sector education network with better infrastructure and revision of syllabus.
Speaking on the occasion, PRA Chairman Raheel Ahmed Siddiqui boasted that the revenue authority in a very short span of almost five years had made a significant impact on enhancing tax revenues of Punjab.
In fiscal year 2016-17, the PRA collected a record Rs82.8 billion, up around 35% over previous year. “The tax base in the year increased to 40,000, which was more than double the number of registered taxpayers in 2014-15,” Siddiqui said.
He stressed that the PRA was trying to promote a new culture of voluntary tax compliance by introducing a transparent, equitable and fair tax administration system, which enhanced the confidence of taxpayers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2017.
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