EDITORIAL: Flawed tax system of Pakistan


Pakistan’s tax system plays a crucial role in generating revenue for the government and financing public services. However, like many other countries, the Pakistani tax system is not without its flaws.

One of the significant challenges faced by the Pakistani tax system is rampant tax evasion and a large informal economy. A significant portion of economic activities remains undocumented, leading to revenue leakage. The informal sector often escapes the tax net, contributing to the tax gap and hindering the government’s ability to collect the rightful amount of revenue.

The tax system in Pakistan is known for its complexity, with numerous taxes, levies, and exemptions. This complexity not only confuses taxpayers but also creates opportunities for evasion. The complicated tax structure also imposes a heavy compliance burden on businesses and individuals, discouraging voluntary tax compliance.

Pakistan faces a persistent challenge of maintaining a low tax-to-GDP ratio. The country’s tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is considerably lower.

Improving a country’s tax system is a complex task that involves multiple factors, including legal, economic, and administrative considerations. Here are some general recommendations to enhance Pakistan’s tax system: Simplify the tax code to make it more understandable and user-friendly. Reducing complexity can help taxpayers comply with the law more easily.

Expand the tax base by bringing more individuals and businesses into the tax net. This can be achieved by reducing exemptions and loopholes and ensuring that all income is subject to taxation.

Implement or enhance progressive taxation, where individuals with higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. This can help address income inequality.

Strengthen tax enforcement measures to combat tax evasion and improve compliance. This may involve investing in technology for better monitoring, conducting audits, and imposing strict penalties for non-compliance.

Utilize technology to streamline tax administration processes, reduce corruption, and enhance transparency. Implementing digital systems for filing taxes and online payment can improve efficiency.

Increase public awareness about the importance of paying taxes and how tax revenues are used to fund public services and infrastructure. An informed public is more likely to comply willingly.

Provide incentives for compliance, such as reduced tax rates or other benefits for individuals and businesses that consistently meet their tax obligations.

Stakeholder Consultation:

Engage in consultation with various stakeholders, including businesses, tax experts, and the public, to gather input on proposed changes to the tax system. This can help ensure that reforms are well-designed and widely accepted.

Strengthen tax administration by investing in training for tax officials, improving data collection and analysis capabilities, and ensuring that the tax collection process is fair and efficient.

It’s important to note that implementing tax reforms requires careful planning, political will, and a commitment to address the specific challenges within the country. Moreover, involving relevant stakeholders and obtaining their support is crucial for the success of any tax system improvement initiatives.