Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Govt Orders PTA and Telecom Operators to Block SIMs of Over 500,000 Non-Filers

Amid Pakistan’s financial challenges, the government has taken a strong stance against tax evasion by directing the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and telecom companies to block the mobile phone SIM cards of more than 500,000 individuals who have not filed their income tax returns.

These individuals, known as non-filers, have taxable incomes but have neglected to fulfill their tax obligations. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has publicly disclosed the names of these non-filers, underscoring its commitment to tax compliance. The FBR has stated that SIM cards belonging to non-filers can be restored upon filing their tax returns for the year 2023.

Furthermore, the FBR has been empowered to disconnect utility services and block SIM cards under Section 114B of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001. To expand the tax base, district tax offices were established nationwide last year.

Discussions have also taken place between the FBR and the PTA to identify SIM cards belonging to under-filers, with plans to block them by April 2024. While the FBR initially identified two million potential tax evaders, only 0.5 million SIM cards will be blocked initially due to concerns raised by telecom companies.

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