Daily The Business

Reforms in Board of Revenue needed to enhance revenue collection

By Javed Iqbal

LAHORE: The Board of Revenue (BOR) has shown great achievement by meeting revenue collection target as pilferage of money have been blocked by introducing online system. The incumbent Senior Member BOR (SMBR) Shokat Ali has been working on further streamlinig the revenue collection, guarding of state lands, handling of land mafias, strengthening of revenue officers, restoration of district collector in true sense since he joined as head. He also wants to reform revenue courts system and old laws like consolidation etc that added to litigation.
According to the investigation made The Business Stamp Duty has the major share in the target of the Board of Revenue. The board was assigned the target of Rs. 56.999 billion under this head out of the total of Rs.76.674 billion set for the FY 2018-19, contributing to more than 75 percent of tax revenues of the BOR.
The Board of Revenue Punjab surpassed the ambitious target of Stamp Duty for the FY 2017-18 by huge margin of Rs. 7 billion in the board history. As against the consolidated recovery of Rs. 40 billion under the Stamp Duty, Capital Value Tax (CVT) and Registration Fee during 2016-17, target of Rs.45.3 billion was set for the FY 2017-18. Tax collection made under stamp duty during the financial year ending 30th June 2018 was Rs. 52.3 billion. With a view to curb the malpractices of using the fake and bogus stamps by the unscrupulous elements, the e-stamping system has been introduced. Starting from district Gujranwala as a pilot project w.e.f 26th May 2016, the jurisdiction was extended to whole of the Punjab w.e.f 26th October, 2016.
During the FY 2018-19, the BOR was able to surpass the revenue target set forth as Rs.56.999 billion which was later on revised downward to Rs.54.926 billion by Rs.1.817 billion. As against the original target of 57 billion, it collected Rs.58.816 billion. Thus the pace set during the FY 2017-18 was impeded during the FY 2018-19 due to discontinuity of the tenure of the officers and lack of supervision.
During this period important office of the BOR Member Taxes was run either on stop gap arrangement or by officers approaching superannuation.
E-stamping system was made available online during the tenure of Asad Islam Mahni, the then Member Taxes Board of Revenue Punjab. Under this system, any person can access the system by a simple internet connection. The value of stamp duty is calculated on the basis of data provided by the buyer (area of the land, location, covered area, commercial / residential etc.) and DC valuation tables built into the system. Upon payment of stamp duty, stamp paper of exact denomination is issued by the Bank of Punjab.

At the time of formulation of valuation tables for the FY 2018-19 during the month of June 2018 Data generated by the e-Stamping system was shared with the field formations showing the details of transactions held at rates over and above those reflected in valuation tables. The data showed that as many as 19% transactions had been done at the rates which are more than 5% above the valuation table rates. ADCs (Revenue) of the concerned districts all across Punjab had been directed to consult this data while formulating valuation tables for the FY 2018-19.. This exercise was the key step that helped the BOR to achieve the target set forth for the FY 2018-19.

Meanwhile, valuation tables for land were first introduced in the province to the extent of urban areas w.e.f 1986 by inclusion of section 27-A in the Stamp Act, 1899. Later on, the purview of section 27-A was broadened to incorporate urban areas w.e.f 1st July, 2010. However, in case of constructed immoveable properties, valuation tables for structure were not available. Non-availability of per unit rates of structure in case of constructed property was one of the major sources of leakages in the Stamp Duty. In the absence of valuation tables for structure, parties invariably used to under declare the value of structure, thereby causing huge financial loss to the public exchequer.
Taking cognizance of the issues, the then Member Taxes, Board of Revenue, Asad Islam Mahni issued directions to the field teams to incorporate rates of superstructure in the valuation tables w.e.f July 1, 2017. Introduced for the first time since the start of FY 2017-18, it has now become a permanent feature to incorporate rates of superstructure in the valuation tables. At the time of formulation of valuation tables during June 2018, the then member Taxes Mahni directed the ADCs Revenue to make an increase of at least 10 percent in the rates of superstructure in the valuation tables. The same has once again fetched good results.
Another avenue of tax leakages was plugged in by the personal efforts of the then Member Taxes Board of Revenue, Asad Islam Mahni.  Bogus adhesive stamps were being used by the unscrupulous elements. After series of meetings with Pakistan Security Printing Company, Karachi, various security features such as nano-printing and other distinctive attributes that glow on Ultraviolet (UV) light had been added to curb malpractices of using the fake / bogus adhesive stamps. New print order was placed for printing adhesive stamps having advanced security features during the tenure of then Member Taxes Board of Revenue, Mr. Asad Islam Mahni.
Land Revenue comprises predominantly of Mutation Fee. It is being collected in the rural mouzas by the Punjab Land Records Authority (PLRA) whereas in mozas which have not yet been computerized, the same is being collected by the Tehsildars and the other revenue field staff.  The BOR collected  Rs,14.310 billion during the FY 2018-19 against the Rs.16.680 billion which was revised to Rs.16.1 billion. During the FY 2017-18, the BOR collected Rs. 12.907 billion as against the target of Rs. 11.907 billion and thus surpassed the revenue target by 2 %. However, it missed the revenue target during the FY 2018-19 by 12%.
As for as agricultural income tax is concerned  the BOR has shown some improvement in the recovery of this tax during the FY 2018-19 as compared to FY 2017-18, it failed to achieve the revenue target of Rs.1.650 billion and collected an amount of Rs.1.574 billion.
The need is to develop a better coordination among all revenue collection bodies. The government should focus on these organizations to materialize its slogan of broadening tax net hence development. The PTI government should also establish a separate force of guards to protect state lands from the clutches of land mafias. The government should also introduce a separate revenue service of officers to improve its revenue related service  delivery and decrease burden on civil courts.

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