HomeBusinessApart from SIM blocking, other legal options should be considered, PTA apologized

Apart from SIM blocking, other legal options should be considered, PTA apologized

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Islamabad (Web Desk) The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) apologized for shutting down more than 5 lakh SIMs in opposition to the action taken by the Federal Board of Revenue regarding non-tax filers.

According to Naji TV, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to block the SIMs of more than 5 lakh people who have not filed tax returns in 2023.

PTA responded to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regarding SIM blocking that PTA is not legally bound to block SIMs.

The Parents and Teachers Association, in its reply letter to the FBR, explained that the practice of blocking the SIMs of people who do not file is not compatible with our system as a large number of women and children use SIMs in the names of men.

In this regard, it was said that only 27% of SIMs are in the name of women in Pakistan and PTA is not legally bound to block SIMs.
Read more: Everyone knows how much debt is outstanding, tax collection is a big challenge, Shehbaz Sharif
The letter said that the Income Tax Ordinance 2021 does not apply to PTAs and blocking SIMs will harm the transition of the country to digital lines.

In this regard, the Pakistan Telecom Authority added that blocking a large number of SIMs would harm the telecom economy and could also cause a hindrance to foreign investment in the telecom sector.

Opposing FBR’s action, he said that problems will arise for customers using banking transactions, e-commerce, mobile accounts, so legal options other than SIM blocking should be considered.

According to a private newspaper report, the FBR had released a list of 56,671 people who did not file tax returns in 2023 and ordered the FBR to block their SIMs.

According to FBR sources, more than 24 lakh people who do not file tax returns have been identified in the country and the list of more than 5 lakh people was released to FBR.

The FBR had selected 5 lakh people out of 2.4 lakh for SIM blocking based on a criterion and the only criterion was that they had to disclose their taxable income for one year out of the last three years And they did not file their tax returns for the year 2023.

As per the list of active taxpayers, FBR has received a list of 4.2 lakh taxpayers till March 1, 2024 compared to 3.8 lakh returns received during the same period last year, so these figures are show a small increase during the period in question

In the year 2022, FBR received a total of 59 lakh income tax returns.

Regarding the SIM blocking proposal, the FBR official said that the SIMs of the 2023 tax return filers will be automatically restored as the FBR updates its list of active taxpayers every Monday, every Tuesday the names of the people who have been included in this specified list and the list will be submitted to PTAs and telecommunications companies for SIM unlocking.

The FBR official said that there will be no separate procedure for SIM unlocking and the entire process will be automated.

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