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FBR issues final notices to non-filers, warns of blocking mobile, utility disconnections

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FBR issues final notices to non-filers

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is ramping up its efforts to boost tax compliance, issuing final notices to individuals who haven’t filed their income tax returns. Failure to comply with these notices could result in draconian measures, including the blocking of mobile SIM cards and phones, and the disconnection of electricity and gas connections.

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This crackdown comes after an earlier round of notices issued across the country in December 2023, with a one-month deadline for compliance. With that deadline now passed, the FBR is taking a tougher stance.

“These are final notices. There will be no further extensions,” emphasized a senior FBR official. “We are committed to bringing non-filers into the tax net and ensuring everyone contributes their fair share.”

The official confirmed that the blockage of mobile phones is on the cards, stating, “It will be done positively this month, but not necessarily on January 15, 2024.” This ambiguity adds a layer of uncertainty for non-filers, potentially pushing them to comply sooner rather than later.

The FBR’s strategy prioritizes the blockage of mobile services, with an Income Tax General order expected to be issued this month to formalize the process. Details regarding the disconnection of utilities, particularly electricity and gas, are still being formulated, as the FBR works to address logistical challenges.

This move signifies a significant escalation in the FBR’s campaign against tax evasion. The potential disruption to essential services like mobile communication and utilities is bound to grab the attention of non-filers and encourage them to act.

However, critics of the FBR’s approach raise concerns about the potential hardship it may cause to individuals who are genuinely unaware of their tax filing obligations or lack the resources to comply. They urge the FBR to implement targeted measures alongside awareness campaigns to ensure fairer and more effective tax collection.

The coming weeks will be crucial as the FBR implements its latest initiative. Whether it succeeds in boosting tax compliance without causing undue hardship remains to be seen.

In the meantime, non-filers are advised to take urgent action and file their income tax returns to avoid potential consequences.

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