PM urged to extend deadline for tax returns until March

By: News Desk      Published: 11:09 PM, 20 Dec, 2020
PM urged to extend deadline for tax returns until March
–File photo

The Friends of Business and Economic Reforms (FEBR) appealed to the prime minister on Sunday to extend the deadline for filing tax returns for the tax year 2020. 

FEBR President Kashif Anwar said that PM Imran Khan should take notice of the grave situation, as FBR’s last date for filing income tax returns expired on Dec 8, 2020. He said that taxpayers wanted relaxation in the deadline as only 1.67 million tax returns had been filed so far and this number was nearly 1.3 million less than the last year’s number. 

“It is beyond understanding that despite a massive fall in the number of income tax return filers for tax year 2020, the FBR has taken the stance that it will not grant extension in the last date for filing returns. It is a fact that taxpayers are facing difficulties on the IRIS portal. Besides, work environment is not friendly due to spread of coronavirus,” he said.

The FEBR president urged PM Imran Khan, Adviser to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and FBR Chairman Javed Ghani to extend the deadline to file tax returns until March 2021 so that the pandemic subsides.

Kashif Anwar said that a large number of businessmen have not been able to file their tax returns, mainly due to effects of COVID-19 on the work environment. He said the second wave, which is more severe and requires strict observation of SoPs, has significantly disturbed business activities all over the country. Furthermore, he said, the recent surge in COVID-19 has slowed down the routine economic and commercial activities.

Until expiry of the deadline, he said, only 1.67 million taxpayers had submitted annual returns for tax year 2020. In tax year 2019, he said, the FBR had received a total of 2.96 million income tax returns. There was a decrease of 43% or 1.29 million in the number of return filers and this should be a matter of grave concern for Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the government had promised to double the tax collection to Rs.8 trillion, which seems impossible in the current scenario.