‘Over 3 mn `filthy rich` Pakistanis pay no tax’

Nearly three million people possess a National Tax Number, but only 1.4 million filed income tax returns last year.

Islamabad: Over 2.38 million people in Pakistan belonging to the wealthy class are tax evaders, revealed statistics compiled by the National Database and Registration Authority.

Nearly three million people possess a National Tax Number (NTN), but only 1.4 million of them filed income tax returns last year. Sources identified 2.38 million people who live in palatial houses, own luxury cars, travel abroad frequently, possess arms, hold multiple bank accounts and pay hefty utility bills, but pay no income tax, reports The Dawn.

The statistics also revealed that tax officials don`t bother to bring these rich people into the tax net, ignoring the fact that one cannot buy a new car without producing their NTN.

Although some potential tax evaders have been identified, tax officials posted in 19 regional tax offices across the country did not bother to pursue them, the report said.

According to statistics quoted in the report, there are 1.611 million people who frequently embark on international tours but do not pay a single penny as income tax. About 584,730 Pakistanis have multiple accounts in domestic and multinational banks, but do not possess NTNs.

There are 66,736 individual consumers who pay large utility bills, over 56,000 people live in posh areas and more than 20,000 people own luxury cars, but pay no income tax.

There are also 25,130 people who are engaged in lucrative professions like medicine, engineering, law and chartered accountancy, but they do not pay a single penny as income tax, the paper reported.

It is a fact that prices of a plot of land are in millions of rupees in posh areas of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, but income tax officers don`t bother to trace the buyers of these plots and make them pay income tax, the report said.