Presidential ordinance: FBR can now block SIMs, disconnect utility connections

ISLAMABAD: With the promulgation of the presidential ordinance for broadening of the tax base, the government has granted sweeping powers to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for disconnection of mobile phones/SIMs, electricity, and gas connection of non-filers.

The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) will also share the exchange of information with the FBR and the potential tax dodgers will be identified through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The government has also given powers to the FBR to discontinue gas and electricity connections of persons, including tier-1 retailers who are either not registered or if registered, they are not integrated in terms of Section 3(9A) of the Sales Tax Act 1990.

A new section 114B (powers to enforce filing of returns) has been introduced in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001. The Board shall have the powers to issue Income Tax General Order in respect of persons who are not appearing on Active Taxpayer List (ATL) but are liable to file a return under the provisions of this ordinance. The Income Tax General Order may entail any or all of the following consequences for the persons mentioned therein; such as disabling of mobile phones or SIMs, discontinuance of electricity and gas connections.

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