The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is doing well in tax collection despite the scars of smart and micro lockdowns imposed on industrial and commercial sectors. The collection figures of November shows the FBR collected Rs 346 billion which is just Rs 2 billion short of the target but it posted over 3 per cent year-on-year growth from Rs 335 billion collected in the same month last year. It shows the economy is reviving day by day and is coming out of slow-growth days as the tax collection figures of the first five months also show tremendous trends. The board collected Rs 1.686 trillion in the first five months of the fiscal year half (July-November) which is Rs 17 billion or 1.01 percent more from the projected target of Rs 1.669 trillion. The recent collection figures paint a rosy picture, but it is worthwhile to remind the FBR bosses that overall the income tax collection is far behind its target by Rs21 billion to Rs109 billion as against Rs130 billion target projected. Still, the collection is going up by 4 per cent thanks to several measures introduced recently. Also, there is good news in sales tax collection which has gone up from 14 per cent to Rs 173 billion in November from Rs 152 billion in the same month last year, thanks to rise in POL prices, increase in imports and revival of economic activities in the month. In the days to come, the FBR will, however, face unfriendly circumstances, such as coronavirus-related partial lockdown and opposition’s anti-government movement.
The government, however, expects a surge in the revenue collection in December when corporate income tax payments are received if everything goes by the script. The first half of the fiscal year is gone, and it has yet to be seen if the government will be able to meet its revenue collection target for the first time in its rule. It has missed, badly missed, targets in the first two years. This year’s target is Rs 4.963 trillion. The government, while preparing the budget for the ongoing fiscal year, assured the International Monetary Fund to meet the target in fiscal year 2021 against Rs 3.989tr collected in fiscal year 2010-20. The government needs to show determination as the target is not unrealistic.