The government is considering bringing legal changes to the upcoming budget for 2023-24 to collect data about sales and income tax from utility connections on the basis of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs).

The move is aimed at broadening the narrowed tax base, as the number of sales tax and income tax filers in the commercial and industrial sectors is far fewer than the number of utility connections.

At present, more than four million industrial and commercial connections are being used, whereas the number of sales tax filers is hardly 100,000. Out of these, more than 50% are non-filers. Moreover, the total number of income tax filers is 3.5 million, including major filers earning only salary income.

Under the proposed changes, all industrial and commercial connections will be mapped with sales tax or income tax numbers. Utility companies will be directed to gather sales tax and income tax data about utility connection holders based on the CNIC against which such an electricity or gas connection has been issued.

The government believes that this move will help in broadening the tax base and generating more revenue for the country.

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