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Act against the rich who don't pay taxes: Pakistani daily

Posted on Feb 27, 10:58PM | IANS

Islamabad, Feb 27 : Action must be taken against wealthy tax evaders, demanded a leading Pakistani daily which pointed out that Karachi alone has over 725,000 rich people who don't pay their taxes.

Data shows that Punjab is home to a majority of the suspected tax evaders followed by Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, said an editorial in the Dawn Wednesday.

While over 85 percent of them live in Punjab and Sindh alone, Karachi tops the list of the cities with over 725,000 wealthy people who should be but are not paying taxes.

With a little less than 450,000 such people, Lahore stands not very far behind on the list.

"Though numerous factors, ranging from the concentration of population at one place or another to the level of economic development to the uneven distribution of industry and wealth, can easily be identified as reasons behind the number of tax evaders in a particular province or city, these explanations don't really matter," said the daily.

"What matters is action, or the lack of it, taken so far by the Federal Board of Revenue to nab them and punish them for not paying taxes," it added.

The tax collectors are in possession of the data listing owners of cars and large houses in upscale localities, who frequently travel abroad, maintain multiple bank accounts and pay hefty utility bills but who do not file tax returns.

"Rather than moving against the identified potential tax evaders, the authorities have wasted many months in pushing a controversial amnesty scheme, which is unlikely to be approved by the outgoing parliament because of widespread opposition," it said.

"It is advisable for the authorities to scrap its plans of facilitating powerful lobbies and move against tax evaders before it is too late."