Business: Unjust tax system seen as a major threat to country: IWCCI

Islamabad: The unfair and oppressive tax structure is the greatest threat to country faces, the Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) said on Sunday.

Our tax system is promoting inequality which is damaging country’s growth and blocking access of masses to economic opportunities, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Worsening inequality has reached to an extreme level due to reluctance of the government to impose tax on rich, unwillingness of authorities to bring exempted and influential into the tax net and limited redress opportunities available to honest taxpayers, she said.

Speaking to the business community, she said that reforms have become imperative as complex tax system redistributes a small amount of money while doing little to slow the polarization of wealth. She said that tax is imposed on rich to benefit poor but in our country it is other way around due to non-transparent postings in the FBR by the political class.

Powers to amend tax laws lies with the executive that has resulted in many problems including the infamous SRO culture which is strangulating poor to please rich, she observed. Farida Rashid said that proper taxation on agricultural income, real estate, brokers and retail sectors can resolve most of the problems country is

facing if FBR is freed from political influence. Government’s determination to introduce tax amnesty schemes despite disapproval by IMF, coalition partners, opposition and experts means that honest taxpayers are being provided incentive to become tax evaders, she said.

How come authorities try to plug loopholes in the system to broaden tax net and support tax dodgers at the same time, she asked. She said that FBR took Rs 10 billion from World Bank to introduce reforms the system which resulted in reduced tax-to-GDP ratio by almost three per cent. Pakistan has not future sans a workable and effective tax policy after taking inputs from all the stakeholders and experts.

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