According to newspaper reports, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to audit 15 percent of the annual income tax returns which were filed in 2013. The returns will be selected through random ballot and the exercise is meant for identifying those taxpayers who do not show their exact income in their tax returns. Earlier, at least five percent income tax returns were selected in 2012 through computer ballot. This year, the income tax returns of the salaried class will not be included in the balloting while the tax returns pertaining to presumptive regime will not be the part of the random ballot. Those who tamper with their documents to show less income will be included in the balloting to ascertain the difference between the lifestyle of the taxpayers and the tax amount paid by them. According to the official sources, total audit of the taxpayers who are leading a luxurious life will be deeply assessed by the ‘third party information’ to ascertain that if the income shown and their quality of life are compatible with each other or not. In case of any discrepancy, not only the tax evaders will be punished, but will also be fined an amount equal to their paid tax. Besides, civil cases will also be filed against them.
As a matter of fact, most of the people hate to pay taxes, but want to enjoy luxuries of life and every facility of the government in the country. The citizens in modern economies are heavily taxed and it is clear to them that there is no way out but to pay taxes. Pakistan is a paradise of tax evaders where most of the people want respect and dignity from the government and enjoy every luxury of life but they love to give thousands arguments why not to pay taxes. Only salaried classes is a vulnerable species of the sort which has to pay tax because their tax amount is deducted at source. There are also tons of wizards available in the market to help tax evaders without realising that the payment of tax is a national duty and moral obligation. However, black sheep in the tax department are equally responsible for taxpayers’ woes because tax officials enjoy powers to knock down anyone anytime. Unfortunately, we do not have a system of check and balance and this breeds corruption. The unscrupulous elements within the government circles or in the citizens always try to manipulate the laws which are enacted in good faith. There is a need to check every citizens — no matter a government officer or a common citizen — that if his lifestyle is compatible with his income or not.