The government should improve the taxation system to increase the number of taxpayers instead of putting more burden on the existing taxpayers, emphasised Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan.

He said that the business community is contributing significantly in the tax revenue generation and as a result this year the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) achieved a historic level of tax revenues worth Rs4,732 billion in 2020-21 – surpassing the target of Rs4,691 billion, which was 18% higher than last year.

ICCI chief said that the government should fully automate the taxation system to reduce people-to-people contact and take initiatives to make the taxation system easier for the taxpayers. Khan said that businessmen are paying huge amount of taxes but their contribution to the economy is not acknowledged and they are not incentivised accordingly.

The president said that with easing of the taxation system and giving incentives to taxpayers, the tax net could be increased manifold, which would also help in reducing pressure on the existing taxpayers.

He added that in order to incentivise the taxpayers and to increase the tax base, the government should allow self-assessment programmes and mechanism, in which people would be willing to pay taxes based on their own comfort level. He emphasised that this will allow several taxpayers to become a part of the tax net which will increase the tax base.

Khan stressed that FBR should facilitate the taxpayers by introducing special counters for business community at airports, NADRA, CDA, RDA and important government departments to give them priority and preferential treatment.

He further suggested that the government should also introduce special cards like gold, silver and platinum for different slabs of taxpayers to give them respect and treatment like federal ministers.

“For better and sustainable outcome of policies, the government should keep the chambers of commerce and industry and associations in the loop in the consultative process,” he suggested.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2021.

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