ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has initiated an inquiry into the alleged tax malpractices of Imran Khan’s wife and former TV anchor, Reham Khan, The News has reliably learnt.
Reham, a British-Pakistani national, does not have National Tax Number (NTN) that is required for filing tax returns mandatory for everybody earning equivalent or above Rs500,000 annually. She has worked as anchor with three different TV channels in Pakistan with salary in millions per annum.
According to FBR’s initial investigation, salary and services were her sources of income. “We will shortly write to her former employers for obtaining information about the salary she had been drawing and any tax deduction if made,” said an FBR official requesting anonymity. It will follow a notice to her inquiring why she didn’t obtain NTN and file tax returns.
A study by NADRA in 2012 found out 3.5 million Pakistanis living in posh areas who frequently travel abroad, operate multiple bank accounts and travel in luxury vehicles but don’t pay a penny in tax.
Reham disputes FBR claims about her alleged tax malpractices. When approached for version, she chose to respond through text messages. “I am a salaried individual so I don’t understand what this is about. Tax is deducted at source and I will forward you NTN number. I had only one salary,” read her text message.
However, FBR officials insist that she is not registered for NTN and that filing of tax returns is mandatory for her that requires NTN. “Being a British citizen, she must be aware that such negligence is not condoned in UK,” an FBR official commented.
When tax return is filed, the filer has to declare all sources of income along with the wealth statement and bank accounts. Anything undeclared if spotted later on can invoke criminal investigation resulting in heavy penalties.
Reham is not the first anchor facing scrutiny. In 2012, FBR had sent notices to a number of TV anchors for mis-declaring their sources of income. “Intelligence and Investigation wing of IRS conducted in-depth analysis and found that around 10 renowned TV anchors were not paying due taxes fully,” said a report.
For example, the report says, they found that there was one TV anchor who was running a media consultancy firm but it was never shown up in tax returns. Another TV anchor authored books but never showed royalty in income tax returns,” it said.
While inquiry has been initiated to scrutinize Reham’s alleged tax malpractices, record of another anchor is also questionable but FBR didn’t dare going after him. Mubasher Lucman has declared zero income and tax from 2009 to 2013. This is in contrast with his luxurious life style.
In an interview to Neelam Nawab (local TV) in March 2014, he claimed owning seven luxury cars and two planes. However, he paid Rs2,005,797 income tax in 2014 that again doesn’t match with his life style. Source