FBR warns Pakistani cricketers for tax evasion

Updated: Nov 02, 2012, 21:23 PM IST

Karachi: Former Pakistan captains Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi were among four cricketers who were slapped with notices by authorities for not paying taxes.

Apart from Younis and Afridi, Umar Akmal and Abdul Razzaq are the other two players were have been served notices by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for not paying taxes amounting to around 80 million rupees.

"They have been given 15 days time to respond to the notices and clear their dues or else action will be taken against them as per taxation laws," a spokesman for the FBR said.

The minimum penalty for not filing returns, statements and wealth statements starts from Rs 5,000 and can be as high as 25 per cent of the tax payable in a year under Pakistani laws.

The non-filer will either declare his total income for assessment of tax in a year or tax official will declare it ex-party, the spokesman explained.

Pushed to meet the annual tax targets by the government, the FBR has been preparing tax profiles of celebrities, including cricketers.

One source said the FBR`s intelligence directorate have focused on 21 cricketers who, according to the bureau, did not file tax returns and/or used other loopholes in the system to keep their earnings safe from the prying eyes of tax authorities.

The source said in most cases, cricketers have had the tax deducted at source ? which means that tax is deducted at the time they are being paid and it is deducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board, which is making the payment.

The FBR spokesman said that the four players had not filed tax returns on their sources of income from commercials, endorsements and annual central contracts which amount to around 80 million rupees.

"The players have been directed to submit their replies within 15 days," he said.

He confirmed that earlier this year some other players including Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, T20 national captain Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Wahab Riaz were also warned over tax evasion.

Pakistani cricketers are among the highest earners in the country with a senior player like Younis earning a monthly retainer of around 313,000 rupees, besides Test match fees of 375,000 rupees and ODI fees of 275,000 rupees.

Recently, the PCB has also been targeted by the FBR over outstanding tax payments and recently the FBR froze a bank account of the board to recover outstanding taxes.

The PCB, however, has challenged FBR`s claim in court.

Interestingly, the PCB has asked President Asif Zardari to give them a five year tax exemption for the proposed Premier League T20 event scheduled to be held next year in March.

Sources said that the cricketers investigated by FBR are guilty of not filing their tax returns, which experts feel, indicates that they may not be disclosing their other sources of income where the tax is not deducted at time of payment.

Interestingly, six cricketers -? Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan, Wahab Riaz, Asad Shafiq, Tanvir Ahmed, Yasir Arafat and Kamran Akmal -- still don`t figure on the tax roll at all.