The plan to broaden the tax base is facing delays as the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) is unclear about the status of data of potential taxpayers.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Nadra had signed an agreement to come up with data of potential taxpayers for uploading on the FBR web portal for the voluntarily filing of tax returns. As part of the agreement, the FBR has already shared its data with Nadra for verification.
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Earlier, the government has claimed to have collected data of over 43 million people to identify potential taxpayers for bringing them under the tax net. The campaign on the voluntary filing of tax returns on the basis of this data was to be launched in December 2021 and then in January, but missed in both cases by the FBR.
Nadra will scrutinise and filter the data sent by the FBR to identify the potential taxpayers while using a scoring system. Similarly, it will also process the data to compare it with certain indicators through Artificial Intelligence to identify non-filers and then share the data with the FBR within a period of 40 days for uploading on its specific web portal.
Last week, a high-level meeting was also convened in the FBR to review the status of the data. The meeting was also attended by senior Nadra officials, the source said, adding Nadra wants FBR to take ownership of the status of data after uploading it on its website.
Another source claimed that Nadra has no confidence in the data mainly because of the mechanism used for evolving it. “Nadra is not satisfied with the data,” the source said, adding Nadra wanted FBR to take responsibility if any issue arises after uploading on the website.
According to the source, the FBR has conveyed to Nadra that the tax machinery has no mechanism to check or verify the data. The only system is to issue a notice to a person and then follow the procedures laid down in the Income Tax Ordinance.
In the first phase, Nadra has provided data of 100 people, which according to the source was returned back on the plea of deficiencies. As a result, the sharing of data would now be further delayed.