FBR Looking to Conduct Forensic Audit of Mobile Phone Companies

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is looking at options to undertake forensic audit of cellular mobile operators as provinces expressed reservations over tax deduction/collection by the telecom companies, told a FBR representative to Senate’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.

FBR representative, while briefing the committee, said that provinces aren’t convinced with tax collection mechanisms of mobile phone operators and since Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has no way of cross-checking the data that telcos provide, there is a need of forensic audit of mobile operators.

FBR representative was particularly concerned about the fact that there is no possible method of cross-checking the data that mobile phone companies provide to tax authorities.

He said the Board has already decided to conduct forensic audit of these companies for which services of foreign consultants are required as no local expertise is available for such forensic audit.

The terms of reference (TOR) for hiring consultants, he added, have been finalized in consultation with provincial authorities, as majority of taxes go to provinces, and necessary changes in tax laws have been made authorizing the FBR for outsourcing the audit.

Anusha Rehman, state minister for information technology, in response said that majority of telecom consumers do not file their returns and this is an area where FBR should be putting more efforts.

She said that telco’s data could be easily cross-checked if mobile phone subscribers file their returns for the withholding tax that is deducted by telecom operators. She emphasized that FBR has largely remained unsuccessful in creating awareness in consumers about filing their returns.

Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, who was also present in the meeting stressed that telecom sector pays highest amount of taxes to government. He further emphasized that authority is completely satisfied over the tax system in telecommunication companies.

Committee said that matter will be further discussed and deliberated to reach a conclusion during future meetings.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • They should also do a forensic audit of OGRA where they are increasing Petrol prices and the rest of the world is reducing it

  • “She said that telco’s data could be easily cross-checked if mobile phone subscribers file their returns for the withholding tax that is deducted by telecom operators. She emphasized that FBR has largely remained unsuccessful in creating awareness in consumers about filing their returns.”

    I know people who can hardly afford to load Rs. 50 balance for the month, how in the world, she thinks they can afford to hire an accountant, pay him Rs. 5-10 thousands for filling the return? This shows how much the Government is out of touch with common people.

  • A real lol moment. What a joke. Apna department chala nahi saktay, doosro ke audit karnay challay hain. What I read above is FBR admitting its incompetence in regulating taxes. They are the ones that shove incoherent tax laws and rules onto the taxpayers each year. They are so, so incompetent that people are not able to pay taxes on their much celebrated online tax platform IRIS. They keep giving extensions to different compliances (including withholding returns filings as early as July) because their systems are not working. Go figure! :)


  • >