Tax evasion: Telco operators, FBR reach consensus on blocking SIMs in batches

Tax evasion: Telco operators, FBR reach consensus on blocking SIMs in batches


Tax authority communicates first batch comprising 5,000 non-filers to telecom companies with more batches to follow

A representational image showing SIM cards being reflected on a monitor showing binary digits in this photo illustration. — Reuters/File
  • FBR communicates first batch of 5,000 non-filers’ names.
  • More batches to be sent to telco operators on daily basis: FBR.
  • PTA previously rejected tax authority’s directions to block SIMs.

ISLAMABAD: After much ado, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and telecom operators have agreed on the blocking of SIMs of non-filers as part of the government’s bid to curb tax evasion to improve revenue generation amid dire economic indicators, The News reported on Saturday.

In a statement, the FBR announced that telecom companies have agreed to commence the manual blocking process of SIMs in small batches until their systems are fully equipped to automate it.

The tax collection body said that the first batch comprising 5,000 non-filers has been communicated to the telecom operators and that more batches would be sent to telecom operators on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the operators have also commenced sending messages to non-filers regarding the blocking of their SIMs for intimation purposes.

The development comes as the FBR and telecom operators have been holding meetings over the resulting deadlock after the latter refused to implement the former’s decision to block 500,000 SIMs of individuals who do not appear on the active taxpayer list but are liable to file the Income Tax Return for Tax Year 2023.

The telecom sector had declared FBR’s move as a sheer violation of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organisation) Act 1996, license conditions and regulations.

However, the decision didn’t sit well with the telecom sector which went on to declare FBR’s move as a sheer violation of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organisation) Act 1996, license conditions and regulations. 

It is to be noted that last week the PTA rejected the tax authority’s directions to block the SIMs stressing that such an order would not have legal bindings and contrary to the legal framework. 



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