The Federal Tax Ombudsman Shoaib Suddle has expressed regret that tax evasion worth Rs 30 trillion is being committed annually while stating that 70 percent of the parliamentarians do not submit their tax returns. He rightly suggested that the remedy was to initiate cases against such individuals. So far as the tax amnesty scheme is concerned, he denounced it as a ‘financial NRO’, which makes it quite apparent that this ruse has been designed specifically to benefit certain big guns among the ruling class and friends. In any case, the idea of tax amnesty could not muster enough supporters in the National Assembly when mooted and is at present lying pending.
The state is meant to do its job impartially but finds it quite difficult in the presence of 70 percent of the parliamentarians, who are adept at throwing their weight when it comes to protecting their interests. With the amount that the ombudsman has mentioned is being stolen, the country needs no crutches of either foreign aid or loans. The pity is that there is, on the other hand, no serious effort by the ruling dispensation to either ask the tax evaders inside the parliament or order the FBR to go after them. However, while more and more officials are expressing their worry, a prominent class which remains out of the grip of law is that of the feudals and landlords, who are invariably too powerful for the officialdom to insist on their payment of taxes. Unless a concerted action begins in order to bring all such errant classes under the tax net, there will always be revenue problems for the government and an excuse to beg for aid largesse.