ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman may be in deep trouble. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has found the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief to be a defaulter for not only filing income tax returns of the last three years in one day but also for forgetting to pay the fee for late filing.
According to FBR officials, Fazl had not filed any tax returns till March 23, 2013. In order to meet the condition for qualifying for the May 11 general elections, he filed the last three years’ income tax return on the same day.
According to the law, the returns are to be filed in September of each year.
Representation Without Taxation, the first comprehensive report on tax details of parliamentarians, also declared the Maulana a non-filer.
While officials privately said they considered Fazl a tax defaulter, the FBR has not yet officially and in ‘clear words’ informed the Election Commission of Pakistan of the JUI-F chief’s status.
The ECP had asked the FBR whether the candidate had a National Tax Number and to provide information on his income and taxes paid in the last three years.
The FBR has, however, informed the ECP about the Maulana’s tax details of the past three years. According to the guidelines on taxation matters, issued on March 21, the FBR has separately highlighted that late filing of returns invites penalties.
According to Section 182 of the Income Tax Ordinance, if a person fails to file income tax returns and wealth statements in a timely manner, “such a person shall pay a penalty equal to 0.1% of the tax payable for each day of default subject to a minimum penalty of Rs5,000 and maximum penalty of 25% of the tax payable in respect of that tax year”.
The FBR officials said it was now up to the returning fficer to ask the Maulana if he had filed income tax returns late, and if so, if he had paid the penalty. If the concerned RO decides to reject Fazl’s nomination papers, it would be the first high-profile rejection of this nature.
The spokesperson for JUI-F was not available to comment on the matter.
Fazl has submitted nomination papers for three seats of the National Assembly – NA-24, (Dera Ismail Khan) – his hometown, NA-25 (Tank) and NA-27 (Lakki Marwat).
Meanwhile the FBR says it had received 19,416 nomination papers by Thursday, of which as many as 16,764 or 86% have been processed, while 2,652 are pending.
Officials said that many candidates did not have NTN numbers, while the FBR has cancelled No Objection Certificates issued to candidates after apprehensions that these certificates could be used as clearance certificates in front of returning officers.
Courtesy : Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2013.