SECP makes online filing of returns mandatory

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has made it mandatory for all listed companies to file documents, returns, accounts and applications, meant to be filed with the SECP, or the Registrar, through SECPs eServices online filing facility.

The SECP issued a notification in this regard on March 13, 2013. The requirement shall come into effect after two months of the date of notification. The requirement has also been made applicable to companies which filed their last statutory documents through eServices or will file any statutory document through eServices from the date of applicability of the notification. Earlier, this requirement was only applicable to companies which had been incorporated through eServices online filing facility.

The online filing has been made mandatory to move towards automated regulatory regime of the SECP, in line with the objective of providing services with efficiency and in minimum possible time. eServices filing facility is an easy and hassle-free mode of submission for companies to make statutory filing, coupled with an added feature of smaller fees as compared to manual/physical filing.

The relevant notification has been placed on the SECPs website. The notification shall, however, be applicable to the filing of documents, returns, accounts and applications for which eServices online submission mode is available.

SROs great source of discrimination, tax fraud

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said SRO culture has remained one of the biggest hurdles in ensuring national development by widening the tax net.

SROs are the foremost source of corruption, discrimination, budget subversion and national disgrace, it said.

FBR has become a factory producing SROs (Statutory Regulatory Orders) to favour influential which undermines capability of the government to spend on welfare and development, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Pakistan will never be able to break the begging bowl until the SRO culture is totally eliminated, he added.

He said that the infamous instrument called SRO has frequently been employed to provide exemptions worth billions to politically connected business tycoons while it puts unnecessary burden on taxpayers which amounts to punishing them for honesty.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the tax authorities have been using powers of the Parliament by issuing SROs while the politicians have seldom challenged the violation.

The SRO culture has kept Pakistans tax- to-GDP ratio one of the lowest in the world putting brakes on positive initiatives, he said.

Taxation system has developed serious flaws due to special focus of the authorities on issuing SRO with no end in sight, he observed.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said issuance of 4500 SROs and tax exemption to the tune of Rs 650 billion is tip of the iceberg. Those benefitted from this culture should be taken to the task, he added.

Matters relating to tax exemptions, change in duties etc. should be debated by lawmakers who are not beneficiaries of unjust tax breaks and exemptions, he said.

An amendment in the law disallowing FBR to issue SROs can increase tax collection to boost shabby economy.

He asked to independent think-tanks and superior courts to review in detail the negative impact of misuse SROs which is hurting the society in general and specifically hitting poor.

Pakistan cannot be entrusted to tax evaders

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said future of the country cannot be entrusted to politicians who have remained involved in massive tax evasion.

Election commission should take concrete steps to stop politicians involved in mass scale tax evasion from contesting parliamentary elections, it said.

Around seventy per cent of politicians, many billionaires, dont pay taxes to discharge their obligations and at the same time ask masses to pay taxes to finance their luxuries, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The behaviour of politicians is highly inappropriate which indicates that they take politics as a profitable business and consider country as their landed estate, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that masses will never pay taxes voluntarily in the unfair tax system as they know that politicians having billions evade taxes, get exemptions and look for foreign donors for help.

The efforts of the FBR to improve tax-to-GDP ratio and other reforms will remain futile as tax compliance in Pakistan will have to start from the top and work its way down, he observed.

The salaried class, business community and some professionals are paying taxes to some extent but many industrialists and landed elite are evading tax while feasting on national resources pushing country under unmanageable debt.

He noted that the plunder of national resources and robbing masses has reached to the proportions where the survival of country seems on stake while the ruling as well as opposition parties seem totally unconcerned.

Pakistan cannot afford another spell of the democracy by incompetent leaders politically and economically, he said adding that incumbent rulers have proved themselves biggest obstacle in making Pakistan a real democratic country.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Pakistan has a chance if Election Commission succeeded in partial implantation of Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution otherwise we will face a crushing defeat without a war.

Tax system seen as a major threat to the country

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The unfair and oppressive tax structure is the greatest threat the country faces, the Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) said on Sunday.

Our tax system is promoting inequality which is damaging countrys growth and blocking access of masses to economic opportunities, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Worsening inequality has reached to an extreme level due to reluctance of the government to impose tax on rich, unwillingness of authorities to bring exempted and influential into the tax net and limited redress opportunities available to honest taxpayers, she said.

Speaking to the business community, she said that reforms have become imperative as complex tax system redistributes a small amount of money while doing little to slow the polarization of wealth.

She said that tax is imposed on rich to benefit poor but in our country it is other way around due to non-transparent postings in the FBR by the political class.

Powers to amend tax laws lies with the executive that has resulted in many problems including the infamous SRO culture which is strangulating poor to please rich, she observed.

Farida Rashid said that proper taxation on agricultural income, real estate, brokers and retail sectors can resolve most of the problems country is facing if FBR is freed from political influence.

Why anyone should expect masses to pay taxes when rulers dont while over seventy per cent of legislators have never bothered to file returns, she questioned.

Governments determination to introduce tax amnesty schemes despite disapproval by IMF, coalition partners, opposition and experts means that honest taxpayers are being provided incentive to become tax evaders, she said.

How come authorities try to plug loopholes in the system to broaden tax net and support tax dodgers at the same time, she asked.

She said that FBR took Rs 10 billion from World Bank to introduce reforms in the system which resulted in reduced tax-to-GDP ratio by almost three per cent.

The practice of fixing unrealistic revenue collection targets and later revising it down has only helped others to laugh at us.

Pakistan has not future sans a workable and effective tax policy after taking inputs from all the stakeholders and experts.

Transparent amnesty scheme can help revive economy

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: A transparent tax amnesty scheme will help authorities broaden tax-to GDP ratio and raise funds while it will give a new boost to our rusting economy, a business leader said Thursday.

FBRs scheme can yield Rs100 billion which makes it key to overcome expected revenue shortfall and meet tax collection target, said Munawar Mughal, former president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President Pakistan Economy Watch and Mr. Baig Raj, President of the Punjab Forum, he said that liberalised trade with India will destroy local industry and agriculture at a time when energy shortages have left almost every business uncompetitive.

Policymakers should give a second thought to granting MFN status to India as some 25 per cent of the textile industry has already relocated overseas which will be accelerated, he stressed.

Mr. Munawar Mughal, who is also the former chairman Founder Group said that closure of CNG will sink investments amounting to Rs 400 billion while it be push up the oil import bill, transportation costs, inflation and environmental pollution.

At the occasion, Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that liquid gas mafia and petroleum mafia is bent upon destroying CNG sector with the help of black sheep in the Petroleum Ministry and Ogra.

He said that India wants free trade while conspiring to destroy Pakistans agriculture through water terrorism.

Dr Asim Hussain, adviser to the prime minister on petroleum, has not only failed to deliver but he has also brought a bad name to the government which was already struggling with image problem, he said.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal demanded a probe in the deals closed by the adviser made while keeping personal welfare in mind and ignoring national interests.

Asking the government to relieve Dr. Asim which has become a liability for the ruling coalition or he should demonstrate courage to resign for his failures and wrongdoings.

Senior Bureaucrats of 97th NMC course visit FBR

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: A delegation from Pakistans most premier training institution, the National School of Public policy (NSPP), Lahore, visited FBR today. 58 senior bureaucrats undergoing the 97th National Management Course were amongst the delegates, led by very senior retired civil servant, Mr Ismail Qureshi Rector NMU, and Dean National Management College (NSPP) Mr. Naeem Aslam.

The visiting senior civil servants were welcomed by Mr. Asrar Raouf Senior Member FBR, Mr. Shahid Rahim sheikh (Revenue Division) and members of FBR including Mr. Muhammad Aqil Usman (Legal) Mr. Riaz khan (Customs), Hafiz Muhammad Anees (Enforcement), Mr. Mustafa Ashraf (Taxpayer Audit) and Ms. Raana Seerat (HRM). FBR Chiefs were also present during the briefing.

Renowned national scholar, Dr. Sikandar Hayat, Mirza Shams-ul- Hasan-PSP, and Dr. Hashim Popalzai of the NMC directing staff accompanied the group.

Mr. Asrar Raouf who is also FBRs spokesman, briefed the delegation and lead an hour long Q&A session, where Mr. Shahid Rahim Sheikh put forward the revenue divisions views on tax policy formation. Member customs appraised the delegation on FBRs role in unearthing false sales tax-refund claims and effecting over Rs 8 billion recovery in a short time. The visiting senior civil servants were introduced to FBRs revenue strategy in pursuit of this years target of Rs 2,381 billon (against last years revenues of Rs 1.883 billion) and Mr. Asrar Raouf also appraised the senior delegates on facets of policy proposal on voluntary registration scheme for taxpayers that is currently under deliberation (and is commonly misquoted in media as amnesty scheme).

He also appraised that while the economic scenario of Pakistan also impacts revenue collection, but despite such constraints the FBR with less than1% cost, collects taxes exceeding 95% of MOFs given targets, and that over 85% of governments expenditure is fed from revenues raised by FBR.

The delegations visit ended with brief comments by rector NSPP Mr. Ismail Qureshi on perspectives of tax policy, followed by tea and a commemorative group photograph.

Life attempt on FBR officer by smugglers

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: On the morning of 18th October, 2012 at around 9:00 am, Mr. Zarghem Dil, Superintendent Customs (Preventive), Model Customs Collectorate, Islamabad while on his way to office was shot by two unknown assailants.

The two assailants opened fire on his car as he was leaving his house. The bullet pierced through his left arm. He was later on shifted to PIMs Hospital Islamabad where his condition is stated to be out of danger.

Chairman FBR accompanied by Member Customs and Chief Collector (North) visited PIMS hospital to enquire about the health of the wounded / injured official.

Chairman assured the officials present on the occasion that they should perform their official duties without fear and that the Government will bring to book the culprits involved in the attack on the official.

A case has been registered with the local police and all efforts are made to apprehend the culprits.

The recent attack appears to be the result of the recent intensive anti-smuggling campaign launched by the Collectorate against smuggled/contraband goods and vehicles.

In view of the recent directions of the Honorable Apex Court to seize smuggled / non duty paid vehicles this Collectorate has launched a vigorous campaign.

As a result, 42 non-duty paid vehicles and seizures worth Rs. 120 Million have been made during the last three months. 18 persons have also been arrested who were involved in smuggling cases.

Furthermore, the Collectorate has made 07 major seizures of Gold, Currency and Narcotics, which includes 15.6 Kg of Gold at BBI, Airport, and seizure of 20 Kg of heroin in different cases.

The two seizures of foreign currency worth Rs. 165 million and Rs. 70 million are the record seizure ever made by Pakistan Customs at any International Airport of Pakistan.

Officers / officials working in the anti-smuggling formations have been continuously receiving threats since the launch of this campaign.

Despite these odds the Collectorate continue to seize smuggled goods and Non-duty paid vehicles alongwith the criminals involved in smuggling of these contrabands.

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