As income tax return filing deadline expires, non-filers will be penalized.

ISLAMABAD -- The deadline to file your income tax returns is expiring tonight (Monday) and our sources say the Federal Board of Revenue is not extending the date again.

The government has already extended the deadline thrice to November 30, December 15 and December 17 (today) and sources say a further extension is highly unlikely. These back-to-back extensions have helped the government increased tax revenues by a tenth this year.

According to sources, the number of individual tax filers has increased by 10.7% compared to last year. The overall number of filers (including businesses) has increased as well. In his recent tweet, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said the number of overall tax returns filed till December 15 show a 30% increase compared to the last year.

Pakistan has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world, around 12%, because tax evasion is rampant in the country. Therefore, the government has compiled lists of high net worth individuals, a database of more than 700,000, who are evading taxes and 3,100 of them have already been issued notices. These are resourceful people who have purchased properties worth Rs20 million, bought 1800 cc automobiles and earned rental incomes of Rs10 million a year, but didn't file their income tax returns.

The government faces a deficit (loss) of Rs2.3 trillion a year because it spends more than it earns, which leaves it with little money to spend on its citizens. Unable to increase its revenue, the government resorts to borrowing from banks so it can continue its day-to-day...

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