FBR Intensifies Crackdown Against Counterfeit and Smuggled Cigarettes

In a counter-evasion operation, the Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) Squads of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have seized non-duty/tax-paid cigarettes (approximately 14,798,000 sticks) worth Rs. 30,741,100, resulting in detection of evasion of taxes and duties of Rs. 26,184,100 in August 2021.

Likewise, during the period from July to August 2021, IREN had seized 26,030,500 illegal cigarettes worth Rs. 48,537,140. As such, evasion of taxes and duties worth Rs. 44,786,258 was detected. This action is in pursuance of directions of the honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan against the illicit sale of non-duty/tax-paid and counterfeit cigarettes.

IREN was established in September 2019 with a Chief Coordinator, Central Field Coordinator, and seven regional enforcement hubs all across Pakistan to conduct raids and seizures on counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes.

As a part of the ongoing crackdown against illicit cigarette trade across the country, all IREN hubs intensified their operation against businesses dealing in non-duty paid and counterfeit cigarettes to save the national exchequer from revenue loss.

Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Chairman FBR, appreciated the performance of the IREN staff. He informed that from November 1, 2021, the Track & Trace System would be rolled out to cover tobacco manufacturing across the country, and that the AJK Government had approached the Federal Board of Revenue to extend the scope of the Track & Track System to cigarette manufacturing units located inside the AJK territory.

It is expected that over the next few months, implementation of the Track & Trace System and its extension into AJK, coupled with the IREN’s valiant drive, would help overcome the menace of counterfeit, illicit, and non-tax paid cigarettes in the market.