Implementing its policy of zero-tolerance against tax evasion, Inland Revenue Enforcement Network (IREN) Squads of FBR, in a counter-evasion operation, has seized non-duty/tax paid cigarettes (approximately 65,811,500 sticks) worth Rs. 156,480,112, resulting in detection of evasion of taxes and duties of Rs. 125,662,630 in the first four months of FY 2021-22.
Likewise, in October 2021, IREN had seized 16,326,000 illegal cigarettes worth Rs. 46,978,050. As such, evasion of taxes and duties worth Rs. 33,366,319 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 tasked to conduct raids and seizures on counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes. As a part of the ongoing crackdown against illicit cigarette trade country-wide, 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, the Chairman of FBR, has appreciated the performance of IREN staff. He informed that from January 1, 2022, Track & Trace System would be rolled out to cover tobacco manufacturing across the country and that AJK Government had approached the Federal Board of Revenue to extend the scope of the Track & Track System to cigarette manufacturing units located inside AJK territory.
It is expected that over the next few months, implementation of the Track & Trace System and its extension into AJK, coupled with IREN’s valiant drive would help overcome the menace of counterfeit, illicit and non-tax paid cigarettes in the market.