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FBR Blocks Over Half a Million Mobile SIMs for Non-Payment of Income Tax

FBR Blocks Over Half a Million Mobile SIMs for Non-Payment of Income Tax

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched a stringent crackdown on tax evaders nationwide, resulting in the blocking of mobile phone SIMs belonging to over 500,000 individuals who have failed to submit their income tax returns despite having taxable income.

In a comprehensive initiative, the FBR has issued an Income Tax General Order spanning over 8,737 pages, signaling a robust action against tax evaders across the country. The crackdown commenced on Tuesday, with the blocking of SIMs belonging to 571,071 individuals who neglected to file their income tax returns in the initial phase.

Although the FBR has identified approximately 2 million tax evaders, mobile companies have requested a cautious approach, prompting the FBR to initiate the blocking of SIMs for a subset of non-filers initially.

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It is noteworthy that the FBR Chairman had recently sanctioned the blocking of SIM cards belonging to non-filers, and directives regarding the same were dispatched to concerned officers by the FBR. In addition to SIM blocking, the FBR possesses the authority to disconnect electricity connections of non-filers, with 145 District Tax Officers empowered with special enforcement powers across the country.

Action against non-filers will be pursued under Section 114B, with measures targeting individuals who fail to fulfill their tax obligations. The FBR, in collaboration with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), has identified non-filers as individuals with taxable income who have neglected to file their returns.

The Income Tax General Order stipulates that SIMs blocked under this initiative cannot be reinstated without approval from the FBR or the relevant Commissioner of Inland Revenue. Furthermore, telecom operators are mandated to comply with the Income Tax General Order by blocking SIMs, with compliance reports expected to be submitted to the FBR by May 15, 2024.

This comprehensive approach underscores the FBR’s commitment to curbing tax evasion and promoting compliance with tax laws, ensuring a fair and equitable tax system for all citizens.