Home » FBR blocked 210,000 SIM cards of users for not filing tax returns

FBR blocked 210,000 SIM cards of users for not filing tax returns

by Haroon Amin
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In an effort to increase the revenue bracket, Pakistan’s tax authorities announced that it has disabled 210 000 SIM cards belonging to people who haven’t submitted tax reports.

In 2022, only 5.2 million of the approximately 240 million people filed income tax returns.

After the decree was approved in April, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) ordered the telecoms authority to restrict the connections of 210 000 SIM cards. Later, the board reported that 62 000 of the SIM cards had their connections restored.

“Those who have paid their taxes have their SIMs unblocked,” stated Bakhtiar Muhammad, a public relations representative for FBR.

“No one shows up willingly to pay taxes. The people’s ability to pay their taxes must be accommodated.”

The Telecom Authority of Pakistan states that there are four telecom service providers and over 192 million mobile phone users.

Read more: Pakistan punishes tax dodgers by cutting off their mobile phones

Pakistanis are required to register a SIM card—which is frequently used for several connections—with their national identity number.

An unnamed spokesman for one of the four telecom companies states, “Access to telecommunication services is a fundamental human right and is necessary for many other essential services, such as information, education, and emergency services.”

The South Asian government is attempting to boost its pitifully low income base, but is impeded by a predominantly undocumented economy.

In order to help balance its books, the government has applied for further loans from the IMF, but the lender demands that Islamabad do more to use its own resources.

“This choice is foolish. Digital rights activist Fareiha Aziz told AFP that not all SIM card holders make enough money to pay taxes.

In a letter sent in June to the ministry of information technology, the four telecoms companies expressed concern that the new tax laws targeting mobile customers who do not file taxes were “impractical” and “non workable” and would deter international investment.

Islamabad businessman Tauseef Gilani, 66, thought the innovative action was excessive.

“Whatever income I earn, it’s my responsibility to contribute back to society,” said Gilani.

The mostly undocumented economy presents obstacles to the government’s attempts to increase revenue, but programmes like this one show their dedication to allocating funds. Some contend that this action is excessive, while others think it is necessary for the nation’s financial stability. In any case, it’s an intriguing step in the direction of tax collecting!

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