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Federal Board of Revenue has rejected claims of reduction in the number of Income Tax returns filed for the current year as compared with last year.
Certain news reports and opinions appearing in the print and electronic media on the subject have pointed out that the returns received by the FBR for the current year i.e. tax year 2017 are above 1.2 million whereas the returns received for the tax year 2016 were above 1.3 million and hence there is a decline of around one hundred thousand in the number of returns received this year.
FBR has termed the above referred reports and opinions as misleading and based on a lack of understanding of the return filing cycle. It needs to be understood that there is no cut-off date for filing of Income Tax returns. Income Tax law does provide a due date for filing of returns but the taxpayers are allowed to file their returns for a tax year several years after the end of the tax year.
A meaningful comparison of the number of returns filed for a year with the preceding year has to be for a given date because the returns for the preceding year continue to be filed even in the next year. By the 28th of February 2018, 1,260,181 returns have been filed for the tax year 2017 and that are 246,945 more than the 1,013,528 returns received for the tax year 2016 by the same date i.e. 28th of February 2017. Returns for tax year 2016 continued to be filed after this date and by the 30th of June 2017 the number of returns received became 1,185,172 and 1,392,181 by 28th of February 2018. It is therefore obvious that the figures being presented to the public by the sections of the print and electronic media do not compare apples to apples and are misleading