In a bid to modernize operations, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) launched an online tax collection system. This will allow citizens to pay their taxes and duties without having to go to the bank and instead using the nearest 1Link ATM or the service of Internet Banking.
The system was launched at a special ceremony held at the FBR house in Islamabad. In attendance were Haroon Akhtar, special advisor to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Chairman FBR Tariq Pasha and Governor of the State Bank, Tariq Bajwa among others.
The online system requires users to fill out their tax and customs duty details via the online FBR and Customs platforms, Iris and WeBOC, respectively. This will yield a payment slip ID which can be used to access payment details at a 1Link ATM or on any Internet Banking website. While this will provide much needed convenience to the taxpayer, it is still a half measure when one looks at the big picture. According to the 2014 World Findex report, 13% of the Pakistani population is banked. This means an overwhelming majority of people in Pakistan are unbanked and unable to use this online tax collection system. On the other hand, tax collection has increased from Rs 1900 billion in 2013 to Rs. 4000 billion in 2017. The online system will only add to this bullion.
The SBP aims to bring 50% of the adult population of the country into the legal financial system by 2020, and the online tax collection initiative is part of that vision.