The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has released the tax filings of the parliamentarians for the tax year 2018 detailing the amount paid by them personally as well as association of persons.
Former prime minister and PMLN member Shahid Khaqan Abbassi paid the most taxes whereas Power Minister Faisal Vawda and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar paid zero taxes during the year 2018.
Former premier Abbassi paid in excess of Rs241 million as an individual whereas the association of persons that he is the part of paid Rs769,169 in taxes.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan paid Rs178,686 compared to the Rs282,449 paid in 2017. PMLN and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif also paid around Rs9m whereas the chairman of third largest party PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari paid Rs294,117.
In addition to him, PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari paid an amount of Rs2.8 million in taxes.
The move was aimed at increasing the transparency around the tax paid by the parliamentarians. However, the fact that some of the parliamentarians despite owning properties in millions and multi-billion rupee businesses paid zero taxes is worrisome and does not reflect positively on the tax culture in the country.
Pakistan has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratio in the world and has been at the heart of the lower revenue collections in the country. The lower collections lie at the heart of the country’s economic problems as the country has to meet the deficits by borrowing from the foreign lenders.
The government has been pushing a drive to increase the collections and urge people to pay their taxes. However, the compliance has been very weak and the culture has failed to pick up in the country.
The decision to release the parliamentarians filing goes a long way in promoting transperancy.