ISLAMABAD: Defiance of the Lahore High Court like to get the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) into hot water over not publicizing the names of 545 tax defaulters, out of 1,070 members national and provincial assemblies and those who contested elections but lost.
As per details, a three-member bench of the LHC, in a verdict on April 12, 2013, directed the FBR to upload details of the parliamentarians and politicians who did not pay taxes on its website besides sharing the data with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
However, the FBR did comply with the orders. However, it took the plea that displaying details of tax defaulters would be violation of law, terming the list “a secret.” On the other hand, the FBR neither could cite any provision from the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, prohibiting the publication of the defaulters details, nor opted for a review petition against the verdict.
The verdict also directed the FBR for the addition of two columns of information shared with the ECP to mention names of tax defaulters and nature of default. To this, the FBR Director Intelligence is of the view that it would be possible to create another column “if there is default in case of a particular candidate and the nature of such default.”
The verdict directed completion of the whole exercise within three weeks to make available all such information on the FBR and ECP websites.
Moreover, the ECP claimed that it had taken up this issue with the FBR a month prior to the LHC verdict to provide information about tax defaulters but to no avail.
But the FBR official defended the decision of not displaying details of tax defaulters, claiming that Income Tax Ordinance 2001 barred sharing of such details.
The department also claimed having sought government permission in this regard but the government responded in negative.
It is to be noted that over 23,900 candidates submitted nomination papers majority of whom were tax defaulters.