Building further on its growth trajectory and maintaining its momentum, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) continues to raise the bar through an outstanding performance which is being acknowledged by all including PM IK. The country’ premier revenue collection organization has released the provisional revenue collection figures for the months July-November of current Financial Year 2021-22. FBR has collected net revenue of Rs. 2,319.1 Billion during July-November of current Financial Year 2021-22, which has exceeded the target of Rs. 2,015 Billion by Rs. 304 Billion. This represents a growth of about 37 percent over the collection of Rs. 1,695 Billion during the same period last year. While chasing the set target of Rs. 408 Billion, the net collection for the month of November, 2021 realized is Rs. 476 billion which represents an increase of 35.5 percent over Rs 348 billion collected in November 2020. These figures would further improve after book adjustments have been taken in to account. On the other hand, the gross collections increased from Rs. 1,783 billion during July-November, 2020 to Rs. 2,437 billion in current Financial Year, showing an increase of 36.7 percent. The amount of refunds disbursed was Rs. 123 billion during July- November, 2021 compared to Rs. 88 billion paid last year, showing an increase of 40.5 percent. FBR collects four major taxes ie Income Tax, Sales tax, FED and Customs duties. Tax policy is framed by the Revenue Division/FBR for all taxes, which ultimately affects overall tax collection. It is pertinent to mention that FBR collects four major taxes i.e. Income Tax, Sales tax, FED and Customs duties. Tax policy is framed by the Revenue Division/FBR for all taxes, which ultimately affects overall tax collection. The four types of tax revenues are collected for government from different incomes and various transactions at different stages. With the exception of Customs duties to a certain extent, no clear dividing line could be drawn to demarcate as to what an extent, taxes have been realized from imports or from domestic transactions, emanating from a particular economic activity. We must agree that economy does not operate in watertight compartments. One transaction unleashes a number of subsequent transactions. For instance, machinery and raw materials imported increase domestic productivity. The increased number of goods produced may either lead to higher domestic consumption or incremental increase in exports. Higher imports of machinery and raw material also result in increase in workers’ earnings, leads to more jobs and escalation of allied services such as freight, marketing, carriage, packing etc. During this entire cycle, government revenues are collected at various stages. Therefore, in such closely entrenched economic activity, the bifurcation of taxes into import and domestic provides a misleading picture. It is only the mode of receipt of these taxes which separates them into import and domestic not their nature. For example, the refund created from the import is adjusted from the domestic taxes. Out of total tax revenue collection of Rs. 2319.1 Billion during July-November, 2021, FBR collected Rs 1246.7 at imports stage which makes it 53.8 percent while Rs 1144.4 Billion or 46.2 percent was contributed by domestic tax collection. On the other hand, with refund adjustment of Rs 102 Billion the share of collection at imports stage dropped vis a vis domestic as it remained at 49.3 percent as against 50.7 percent of the total revenue collection during the period. The taxes collected at import stage impact collection of taxes domestically. For instance, income tax collected at import stage is adjustable against the final tax liability except in the case of commercial importer. This means that higher deduction of withholding taxes at import stage will result in lower tax liability to be paid as advance tax or along with return, at domestic stage. Similarly, Sales tax collected at import stage is claimed as input tax against the domestic supplies. Higher incidence of Sales tax collection at import stage, therefore, results in lower output Sales Tax paid domestically. Furthermore, all taxes are collected after the legislation is done by the Parliament which also determines the mode and manner of collection. It is also the prerogative of the legislature to decide as to whether the due tax will be collected at import stage or at the time of production once the imported raw material is processed by the relevant industrial undertaking. Indeed, collection of taxes at the import stage is preferred to ensure ease of doing business and offer a far more convenient choice to the business community. In other eventuality, FBR has its Field Formations in place across the country to monitor business activities and can collect the due taxes at manufacturing stage once the Parliament decides about the stage of collection. It is therefore not a fair appraisal to belittle the constant upward growth being maintained by FBR in revenue growth. The hawks would tend to find fault-lines even when all is going fine. Furthermore, FBR has introduced a number of innovative interventions both at policy and operational level which have not only contributed significantly to building bridges between FBR and taxpayers but have also gone a long way in ensuring transparency and ease of doing business. The country’s largest revenue collection organization has adopted a policy of clean taxation with not a penny in advance nor blocking any refunds when they become due for payment. While in past, the refunds worth Billions were willfully held back under one pretext or the other to artificially show revenue increase while heavy advances were picked up from taxpayers just to pad up numbers and create a smoke screen of revenue growth. This undesirable practice has been abandoned for good and for the right reasons. Likewise, FBR is fast developing a new culture of tax compliance through digitization and automation which is aimed at minimizing human interaction between taxpayers and FBR and thus move towards a far more reliable tax system which strongly discourages harassment of taxpayers. These measures are building bridges between the business community and tax collectors which is at the same time raising confidence of taxpayers and resulting in an increased tax compliance. These out of the box initiatives are being acknowledged by all and at all levels except a few who spare no opportunity to criticize FBR, to the best reasons known to them only. Moreover, in order to promote good governance within the rank & file of the organization, FBR’s top leadership is pursuing a policy of zero tolerance against corruption, extortion, highhandedness and non-professional conduct. Chairman FBR has, on numerous occasions, reaffirmed his unflinching resolve to deal the black sheep within the organization with an iron hand and urged team FBR to manifest the highest standards of professionalism and exemplary conduct while dealing with taxpayers. For the first time ever in the history of FBR, he has decided to hold weekly E-Katchery to listen to the grievances of taxpayers and fast-track their resolution on priority basis. Only a couple of days ago, upon receipt of a credible information based on audio-visual evidence, three officials posted in Collectorate of Customs Enforcement, Lahore were found to be involved in malpractices and were immediately placed under suspension. Disciplinary proceedings have already been initiated against the accused, under the relevant rules. These extraordinary measure are being taken to set the house in order and ensure belt tightening within FBR which is bound to yield positive results. Therefore, time has come to recognize realities on the ground and accept the outstanding performance of FBR with no malice or prejudice. No institution or organization can ever claim to be perfect as the room for improvement remains a constant feature. What is more important for a dispassionate analysis of FBR’s growth trajectory is the journey towards collecting more revenue and growing stronger against odds, with every passing day. A constant progressive march towards achieving excellence remains a hallmark of its new vision which is driven by transparency, trust building and digitization. FBR seems committed far more than ever before to make it happen. That is, indeed, the key to its success. The writer is a civil servant by profession, a writer by choice and a motivational speaker by passion!