FBR unveils ‘mega scam’ involving 45,012 freelancers, 27 banks, and Payoneer
The investigation into the matter unveiled that a massive amount of Rs. 60,308,760,650 was disbursed to 75,615 beneficiaries using local banks.
According to reports, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has recently uncovered a ‘mega scam’. The scam involves a foreign company transferring around Rs. 60 billion to more than 70,000 Pakistani citizens without the knowledge of the tax authority. Reports state that the amount was sent by Payoneer, which is registered in the US but has no physical presence in Pakistan.
27 banks were involved in the scam
Talking about the scam, FBR said:
Remittances were sent on the sale of different items and freelancer consultancy services by engaging 27 different local banks.
A statement issued by the Islamabad Income Tax Commissionerate read:
Foreign clients made payments into Payoneer accounts of individual Pakistanis in the USA. The people who received the funds then withdrew the same amount from a Payoneer Inc. account maintained by Mobilink Micro Finance Bank Limited (MMBL) through a Jazz Wallet or from Pakistani accounts maintained with local banks inside Pakistan.
45,012 unregistered individuals have been caught by the FBR
FBR officials told a media outlet:
Out of 75,615 individuals found to have received funds, 45,012 are not registered with the tax authority. Another 17,985 filed income tax returns but did not pay any tax and never showed any international remittances income.
FBR officials further stated:
The remaining 12,618 individuals are registered with the FBR and have an NTN but have not paid any tax or filed their tax returns.
An investigation into the scam initiated
The Commissioner Offshore Taxation, Islamabad, has collaborated with the Directorate General of International Taxes to investigate the money/ income received by Pakistanis.
It should be noted that the money was received on account of the provision of various freelancer consultancy services and the sale of goods to various individual clients via the Payoneer platform.
The investigation into the matter unveiled that a massive amount of Rs. 60,308,760,650 was disbursed to 75,615 beneficiaries using local banks in less than two-and-a-half years.
The beneficiaries involved in the scam
According to reports, FBR has identified 45,012 individuals who are liable to be registered with the tax authority and pay tax on the income earned abroad.
In the case of non-NTN holders, compulsory registration is to be carried out by the FBR.
A media outlet reported that the FBR is to issue bulk notices to individuals who are registered but are non-filers and those filer individuals who have not declared taxable foreign income in Pakistan.
Impact on overall tax revenue
Sources in the FBR claim:
The overall impact of the tax revenue is expected to be more than Rs. 10 billion, which is easy to levy and recover on account of the information being of definite nature.
The sources further shared:
Adding genuine taxpayers having a regular foreign income will benefit the country. This will not only result in the broadening of the tax base but also will improve the overall tax-to-GDP ratio of the country.
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