Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the highest individual tax payer in 2018. The PML-N leader paid Rs242 million in taxes, which is twice as much tax as the entire cabinet of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party paid put together.
The details have been revealed in the Parliamentarians Tax Directory (2018) that Federal Board of Revenue has published on its website.
On the other hand, 25 members of the cabinet and Prime Minister Imran Khan collectively paid Rs111.8 million in taxes the same year. The PM paid Rs282,449, but Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda paid zero tax in the year under review and Defence Production Minister Zubaida Jalal's tax record wasn't found in the directory.
Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar and Petroleum Division Minister Omar Ayub were the top two tax payers in the cabinet, contributing Rs59.4 million and Rs26 million to the exchequer respectively.
A careful review of the directory shows as many as 160 parliamentarians from both ruling coalition and the opposition parties who paid zero tax in fiscal year 2018. Among them are Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, PPP's Naz Baloch and Ali Haider Gilani, PML N's Chuadhry Zulfiqar Ali Bhindar and Muhammad Sajjad.
The PTI's MNA from NA 256 Muhammad Najeeb Haroon was the second highest taxpaying parliamentarian followed by Muhammad Hanif of PP 289, also from the PTI. Haroon paid Rs140 million while Hanif's contribution to the national kitty was Rs130.2 million.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah paid Rs7.3 million, Balochistan CM Jam Kamal Khan Rs4.8 million and KP CM Mahmood Khan paid Rs235,982 while Punjab's Buzdar paid no tax as per the FBR record.
Among famous politicians former CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif paid Rs9.7 million and his son Hamza Shahbaz paid Rs8.7 million, former president Asif Ali Zardari paid Rs 2.89 million and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari paid Rs 294,000 while Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur contributed Rs4.5 million to the national exchequer. Former CM KP Pervaiz Khattak paid Rs1.8 million and Pervaiz Elahi paid Rs2 million in taxes during fiscal year 2018.
The FBR has been publishing parliamentarians’ tax directory since 2013, the year it made public records of parliamentarians' taxes. The amount of taxes has been taken from their income tax filing data. In some cases where an individual was part of an Association of Persons (company), the FBR has mentioned both his individual tax (if any) and the tax paid by the AoP, which the parliamentarian is a stakeholder of. For this report, SAMAA Money has taken the sum of individual and AoP taxes.
"Transparency in tax governance is key to ensuring an efficient, fair and sustainable tax system which, in turn, is critical for better economic management," the FBR said in its directory.
"Public access to information is an important milestone in ensuring transparency of tax system which is also a major pillar of reform agenda of the incumbent government," it added.