ISLAMABAD - The incumbent government has decided to tighten the noose around the rich and wealthy non-taxpayers in the upcoming budget for next financial year (2014-2015) in a bid to broaden the extremely low tax base of the country.
Sources informed that government has decided to bring those wealthy and rich non-taxpayers into the tax net who are enjoying lavish life but not paying their due taxes. Background discussions with Finance Ministry officials revealed that government would double the rate of withholding tax on many items in the upcoming budget, which would be announced on June 3, 2014.
Rates of withholding tax would be doubled on cash withdrawal from banks and electricity bills in case of non-taxpayers. Similarly, the government would also charge double withholding tax rates on foreign air-tickets for non-tax filers. There would be two rates of withholding tax on foreign air-tickets, as 5 percent on the filers of income tax returns and 10 percent on non-tax filers.
Meanwhile, the government would also charge double withholding tax rates on the purchase of property. Government is considering imposing two percent withholding tax on the purchase of property for those who are not filing their income tax returns. However, the rate of withholding would be only one percent on the purchase of property for those who file their income tax returns.
However, sources in Finance Ministry said that government would not eliminate tax exemptions on food, stationary and bicycles in the budget to facilitate the poor segment of the society. “Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz has rejected the proposal of eliminating tax exemptions on food, stationary and bicycles in the budget”, said sources privy to the budget making process.
The government has set Rs 2.81 trillion revenue collection target for the next fiscal year. The government would take additional taxation measures worth of Rs 230 to Rs 240 billion to make the tax collection realistic. The additional revenue would generate from eliminating tax exemptions and new revenue generation measures.
The revenue impact of withdrawal of exemptions through SROs has been estimated at around Rs 70 billion whereas the remaining amount could be raised through taxation measures of sales tax, income tax, and federal excise duty. Sales and federal excise measures have been estimated at around Rs 70 billion. Measures in relation to direct taxes have been estimated at over Rs 100 billion for 2014-15.