LAHORE: Punjab Revenue Authority will surpass the annual budget target of revenue collection of Rs 155.9 billion likewise of the last year while it has already registered more than 100,000 taxpayers by December 2021 against the target assigned till June 2022. The Authority has already collected Rs 72 billion revenue in the first half (January-December) of the ongoing fiscal year 2021-22 as compared to the corresponding period of the last fiscal year of Rs 58 billion.
Further, out of the Rs 58 billion, PRA had received Rs 16 billion from the Federal Board of Revenue in the adjustment of taxes already collected by the Board. This was briefed by the Chairperson PRA Zain ul Abidin Sahi to Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA) to discuss the revenue growth trajectory of the Authority and future prospects. President LEJA Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry is also present in this briefing. The PRA is registering almost 22 percent annual revenue growth which is almost double of nominal GDP rate of the country.
Elaborating on the policy reforms, Sahi said the policy was adopted in which taxpayers’ interactions ensured before going to the courts which resulted in a reduction of court cases to only 574, out of which 64 are tax references in Lahore High Courts and 510 are writ petitions. Whereas, monthly new cases ratio is reduced to less than five.
He explained that the majority of the time taxpayers were unaware of the issues and approached the court while now the PRA tries to resolve the issues at Authority which resulted in a drastic decline in litigations. Following the open door policy trust of the taxpayers increased in the PRA while the taxpayers know the issues would be resolved. ‘The PRA is a zero corruption department despite interactions with the taxpayers as both taxpayers and authority officials know about zero-tolerance policy on corruption and tax evasion, he mentioned. Further, the policy of non-corrosive measures also increased the trust of taxpayers.
Any PRA official could not take any action of the sealing of any business and attachments of bank accounts of taxpayers except the Chairperson. During the last year, corrosive measures were taken against only three cases. On a question about taxing the international services providers like Google, Netflix, and others in the province, Sahi said always a mechanism needed to get tax from the taxpayers.
He said that once a mechanism is devised the taxpayers are compelled to pay taxes. Thus, the PRA is devising a mechanism in which a seamless system would be made for the international technology companies and services providers to pay the taxes. He believed once the mechanism will evolve than the international companies will pay the taxes. On tax evasion by the restaurant sector, Chairperson PRA said that so far 750 Point of Sale (POS) was integrated with the PRA system while further integration was underway.
Besides, integration of the businesses which included restaurants, beauty parlors, and others, the PRA also created awareness among the small restaurants and service providers working without POS with conventional methods to get themselves registered with the Authority and start paying taxes. Further, the PRA is also opening tax offices in the small cities where it believed a good number of unregistered businesses are operational. These cities included Muree, Sialkot, Gujarat, and others. TF REPORT