ISLAMABAD: Amid ongoing review meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s revenue shortfall continued to expand rather dramatically in October as the government extended the deadline for filing of tax returns for another month.
Senior officials at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said the provisional revenue collection in first four months of this year amounted to Rs1.28 trillion, as against a target of Rs1.447tr.
This took the 4-month shortfall to about Rs167bn, from Rs113bn at September end. The gap was slightly brought down to Rs162bn after book adjustments of about Rs5bn. Net collections were put at Rs1.284tr, higher by 16 per cent year-on-year, over Rs1.104tr in same period of 2018.
According to the officials, revenue collection in October stood at Rs320bn versus monthly target of Rs376bn, leaving a shortfall of about Rs55bn. However, the proceeds were about 15pc higher than same month last year.
Return filing deadline extended to Nov 30
The officials said a total of about Rs34bn was refunded to the taxpayers, including Rs4bn in October.
FBR Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi tweeted “Alhumdullilah, FBR has collected Rs 320 billion during the month October 2019 and has maintained overall increase over last year of 16 percent and domestic tax over 25 percent. This is after taking into account negative aspect of import contraction of around Rs 50 billion”
Giving details of the collection, officials said the biggest chunk of Rs566bn was achieved through sales tax in four months, followed by about Rs468bn through income and about Rs109bn in customs. The remaining Rs137bn came were collected via other taxes including Rs71bn in federal excise duty.
The government has set a revenue target of Rs5.555tr for this fiscal year as part of $6bn Extended Fund Facility with IMF, whose mission is currently in town for review of first quarter performance.
Meanwhile, FBR extended the deadline for filing of income tax returns of individuals and associations of persons for TY19 until November 30. “The date of filing of Total Income/Statements of final taxation for Individuals and Associations of Persons for the Tax Year 2019 which were due on September 30, 2019 and extended upto October 31, 2019 is hereby further extended upto November 30, 2019”, said an FBR notification.
It said the deadline was extended und Section 214A of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 in respect of those companies who have paid 95pc of the admitted tax liability on or before Sept 30.
The FBR had earlier announced to charge Rs40,000 fine to persons for failing to submit their returns by Oct 31 but did not go ahead with it. The sources said the Pakistan Tax Bar Association had warned the FBR against any fine saying the revenue body was more to be blamed for fewer returns than filed last fiscal year.
The association had told the FBR in writing that total returns by Oct 31 deadline were close to one million compared to 1.6m filings of t he last year. It informed that the relevant SRO951 and revised return form was issued by FBR in the last week of August and uploaded on IRIS website in the first week of September.
This meant about two months had already been wasted by FBR for which tax payers should be punished. The association had demanded extension in deadline until Dec 31.