FBR to Add SMS Service in Channels of Communication With Citizens

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is planning to serve notices to the filers or non-filers for seeking requisite documents for compliance, through the SMS service of the cell phones registered in the name of that person.

In this regard, the FBR has decided to give legal cover to the FBR’s communication with the citizens through the SMS of the cell phone registered in the name of such person.

Presently, the income tax law does not give legal backing to the seeking of required documents from the taxpayers through the SMS. Similarly, the FBR has no legal authority to issue a notice through the SMS.

After this amendment, the FBR can seek any documents from the filers or non-filers or issue a notice or communicate with the taxpayers through SMS. The document served through the SMS will have full legal cover under the income tax law.

The FBR has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NADRA for real-time verification of CNICs and associated details.

The data linkage will facilitate onward linking of FBR’s system with other organizations and identify persons who are either outside the tax net or conceal their income and assets.

A tax expert told ProPakistani that it is yet not clear whether any communication of FBR with the citizens through Whatsapp is covered under the said amendment or not. However, legal cover would enable the FBR to simultaneously communicate with a large number of persons through the SMS.

According to the draft amendment in the Income Tax Rules 2002 issued by the FBR through a notification here on Monday, where a person is using a mobile phone, document required to be served on that person by the Commissioner or the Chief Commissioner shall be considered sufficiently served if sent as SMS on the cell phone registered in the name of such person as per record of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) established under section 3 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) Act, 1996 or the relevant Telecommunication Service Provider, FBR added.