The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to postpone its plan to block mobile SIM cards and utility connections for individuals who have not filed their taxes.
According to sources, the FBR initially aimed to take action against non-filers under Section 114B of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, which grants powers to compel the filing of returns. This section allows the Board to issue income tax general orders for individuals not on the active taxpayers’ list but obligated to file returns.
The income tax general order issued under this section could result in various consequences, such as (a) disabling mobile phones or SIM cards, (b) discontinuing electricity connections, or (c) discontinuing gas connections. However, FBR is now concerned that these stringent measures might lead to legal challenges in the courts.
Instead, the FBR plans to implement these actions after publishing the Active Income Tax List by March 1. Earlier this month, the FBR had issued final notices to non-filers, warning of the impending blocking of their mobile SIM cards and phones, as well as the disconnection of utilities. An FBR official had previously indicated that mobile phones belonging to non-filers would face blocking in January 2024.