The Pakistani tax system operates on a hybrid model, split between the federal and provincial levels. At the national level, taxation policy is carried out by the Federal Board of Revenue’s Inland Revenue Service. The US Department of State invited 10 members of the Inland Revenue Service to be a part of an International Visitor Leadership Program in 2021. Global Ties KC coordinated two virtual meetings for this group to meet with H&R Block and the Missouri Department of Revenue. The necessity of this program was so obvious that the US Department of State invited those same participants to the United States in-person in October 2023. Global Ties KC welcomed the group from October 2-7 to explore how Pakistan can enhance their taxation system through federal intervention and potential private partnerships.
Notably, Pakistan has a consequentially informal economy, operating away from the purview of tax obligations and the FBR. In fact, as of 2018, 71.7% of Pakistan’s economy operates in this unmonitored, cash-based system. This is estimated to account for nearly 1/3rd of the country’s GDP; the lack of oversight encourages significant tax evasion.
During their program to address this issue, The Department of State had outlined the following specific objectives for the project:
- Build awareness of efficient and effective tax collection methods at the local and regional levels;
- Increase understanding of United States tax codes, tax collection processes, and tax enforcement methods;
- Explore electronic tax systems and record keeping;
- Study opportunities for eliminating tax fraud, waste, and inefficiencies.
To accomplish this, Global Ties KC coordinated a multi-day program to connect them with their counterparts in tax collection and assessments. Being home to the headquarters of H&R Block, Kansas City was a prime stop in this program. Through meetings with other organizations, like the UMKC School of Accountancy and School of Law, Kansas Income Tax Institute, and Kansas Department of Revenue, participants were able to see how they might enhance tax collection processes through private partnership. Hopefully this will lead to a decrease in tax evasion in Pakistan, and thus affording their government the funds needed to serve the public and to mobilize their economy.
Thank you to everyone who made this program possible, including: H&R Block, Rich Llewelyn with the Kansas Income Tax Institute, UMKC School of Accountancy, UMKC School of Law, and Kansas Department of Revenue.