HomeBusinessFBR blocks over 11,000 SIMs of non-filers

FBR blocks over 11,000 SIMs of non-filers

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has taken decisive steps towards enhancing tax compliance by blocking over 11,000 mobile phone SIMs of non-filers, indicating a strong commitment to fostering a culture of taxation.

FBR spokesperson Bakhtiar Mohammad affirmed that “11,252 SIMs had been blocked till May 22 under the Income Tax General Order.” Despite initial confusion regarding a stay order from the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Chief Justice Aamer Farooq clarified that the order pertained to protecting petitioners, not halting SIM blocking. This underscores the government’s resolve to enforce tax laws effectively.

Previously, the FBR’s move to block SIMs of individuals who didn’t file tax returns for 2023 faced resistance from telecom providers, leading to delays in implementation.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) declined to enforce the order, citing jurisdictional constraints. Telecom companies raised concerns about the hasty decision’s potential adverse effects on customers and emphasized their obligation to maintain uninterrupted services, leading to negotiations with the Ministry of IT.

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Ultimately, a consensus was reached, allowing telecom operators to initiate manual SIM blocking in smaller batches of non-filers. This resolution followed constructive discussions between the FBR, PTA, and telecom operators, aligning with the provisions of Income Tax General Order No. 1. The collaborative effort signifies a pragmatic approach to broadening the tax base while addressing industry concerns.



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