ICCI calls for a cut in high tax rates in next budget to improve tax revenue

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ISLAMABAD: President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Sheikh Amir Waheed has said that the high tax rates in Pakistan was major cause of tax evasion in the country and stressed that in the forthcoming federal budget, the government should cut tax rates which would help in expanding the tax base, improving the tax-to-GDP ratio, and enhancing the tax revenue of the country.

He was talking to MPA Raja Hanif Advocate during his visit to chamber house. Founder Group Chairman Zubair A Malik, Khalid Chaudhry, Dildar Abbasi, Iftikhar Sethi, Ashfaq Chatha, Muhammad Faheem Khan, Sai fur Rehman Khan, Nisar Langa and others were also present at the occasion.

Sheikh Amir Waheed said that government had imposed 3 per cent supertax on the income of 500 million and above as well as 4 per cent supertax on the income of banking companies in 2015 for rehabilitation of IDPs that was extended in 2016 and 2017. He stressed that in the coming budget, the government should abolish super tax as there was no further justification for it.

He said 17 per cent sales tax in Pakistan was almost highest in the region that has put an extra burden on the common man and enhanced the cost of doing business in the country. He said in the next budget, the government should reduce GST to single digit level that would provide significant relief to the common man, reduce the cost of doing business and give a boost to business activities.

He said the prevailing withholding tax regime has made taxpayers of the private sector as withholding agents for FBR due to which business community has to spend sufficient time on the collection of WHT for the tax department.

He urged that in the next budget, the government should streamline WHT regime and assign the responsibility of collecting WHT to FBR officials so that business community could fully focus on promoting business activities.