ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Britain on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at curbing tax theft and exchanging information about affluent Pakistani tax defaulters.
The MoU was signed between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and British tax authorities.
According to FBR officials, this agreement will help the authorities widen the tax net. They said the information received from the British authorities would be compared with the assets declared by the Pakistanis already in the tax net so as to trace any underreporting in tax documents.
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However, they said the identities of such people would be protected and not leaked to any person or institution, and the tax authorities would use the information for investigation purposes only.
The MoU will also assist in tax collection, besides helping the government control tax evasion. Besides, the MoU signed with the United Kingdom’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will help strengthen Pakistan’s tax collection system. The FBR-HMRC memorandum is part of wider support for Pakistan’s tax reform provided by the UK through the Department for International Development (DFID), which also includes technical assistance through the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Accelerating Growth and Reforms.
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Speaking at the signing ceremony, FBR Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan said the UK’s support in achieving the government’s goal of optimal tax collection was critical to their agenda of citizen-centric public sector service delivery.
He expressed the confidence that the MoU would help Pakistan move faster in the right direction to achieve its aspirations and objectives.
Joanna Reid, head of the DFID Pakistan, said the UK was committed to support Pakistan’s resolve in ensuring reduction of tax evasion and added that new phase of collaboration with FBR would lead towards transparency and efficiency in tax revenue collection system in Pakistan.
The MoU will push Pakistan’s tax collection by using data more smartly to target high net-worth individuals who remain outside the tax net.
The memorandum includes support to the FBR in ensuring that multinational companies pay the right amount of tax and participate in an international effort to reduce tax evasion.
The HMRC experts will provide advice to the FBR on how to communicate with the general public about their tax paying obligations. The MoU also includes support to streamline customs procedures.
(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on October 18th, 2018)