FBR to block mobile phones of non-filers

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been empowered under income tax statute to block mobile phones or mobile phone SIMs of persons who have taxable income but remained non-filer of annual return.

The government promulgated Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, and made major amendments to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

As per the amendments, the FBR has been empowered to take strict actions against non-filers, including blocking mobile phones or mobile phone SIMs. Besides, the tax authorities have also powers to give orders to utility companies for discontinuations of electricity connection and gas connection of non-filer.

Section 114B has been introduced through the Tax Law to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

Following is the text of the new Section:

“114B. Powers to enforce filing of returns. — (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Board shall have the powers to issue income tax general order in respect of persons who are not appearing on Active Taxpayers List (ATL) but are liable to file return under  the provisions of this Ordinance.

(2) The income tax general order issued under sub-section (1) may entail any or all of the following consequences for the persons mentioned therein, namely:-

  • disabling of mobile phones or mobile phone sims;
  • discontinuance of electricity connection; and
  • discontinuance of gas connection.

(3) The Board or the Commissioner having jurisdiction over the person mentioned in the income tax general order may order restoration of mobile phones, mobile phone sims and connections of electricity and gas, in cases where he is satisfied that —

(a) the return has been filed; or

(b) person was not liable to file return under the provisions of this Ordinance.

(4) No person shall be included in the general order under sub-section (1) unless following conditions have been met with, namely:-

(a) notice under sub-section (4) of section 114 has been issued;

(b) date of compliance of the notice under sub-section (4) of section 114 has elapsed; and

(c) the person has not filed the return.

(5) The action under this section shall not preclude any other action provided under the provisions of this Ordinance.

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