FBR Mobilizes Operators to Block SIMs for Non-Filers Despite PTA Objection

Following the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) refusal, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has opted to convene all mobile phone operators to ensure the blocking of SIMs associated with 506,671 non-filers by May 15, 2024.

A senior FBR official emphasized that the PT

A’s rejection lacks legal weight, affirming that cellular companies will carry out the SIM blocking. An emergency meeting of telecom operators will be convened by the FBR, directing them to adhere to the SIM blocking directive by the specified deadline, under penalty of legal repercussions.
Read Also: FBR and PTA Clash Over Blocking SIM Cards in Pakistan

The FBR remains resolute that the PTA’s stance does not present any legal hurdles, with the tax authority proceeding with its enforcement measures regardless of PTA’s objection, according to sources.

The FBR had issued an Income Tax General Order No. 01 of 2024 mandating the filing of returns by individuals not listed as active taxpayers but obligated to file returns for the tax year 2023, in accordance with the Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

PTA has opposed the SIM blocking initiative, citing incompatibility with its system and asserting that it is not legally bound to comply with the Income Tax Ordinance 2021. The regulator warns that blocking a substantial number of SIMs could detrimentally impact digitalization and the telecom economy, potentially discouraging foreign investment in the sector and causing disruptions in banking transactions, e-commerce, and mobile account services.

Non-filers mentioned in Income Tax General Order No. 01 of 2024 can verify their status on the FBR’s website, with their mobile SIMs remaining blocked until restoration by the FBR or the relevant Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

The FBR has mandated the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and all telecom operators to promptly enforce compliance with the Income Tax General Order, with a compliance report due to the FBR by May 15, 2024.

By Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *