Govt urged to rectify impediments in taxation system

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  • ICCI wants govt to bring GST down to single digit level in the next budget

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCCI) organised a pre-budget consultative session to seek budget proposals from the local business community.

ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal presided over the session while Senior Vice President Rafat Farid and ICCI Tax Committee Chairman Naeem Siddiqui were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the session, Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that the prevailing complicated and difficult tax system was a major hurdle in promoting the tax culture and increasing the revenue.

He urged the government to develop a simplified tax system that should facilitate the growth of business activities. He said that tax rates were quite high in Pakistan that should be rationalised in order to broaden the tax net.

ICCI SVP Rafat Farid said there were different tax rates at federation and provincial levels, creating problems for the business community.

He emphasized that the government should introduce a uniform tax system across the country, adding that it (government) should also ensure better benefits, incentives and respect for taxpayers so as to expand the tax base.

Farid said billions of rupees of taxpayers were stuck up with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) owing to which the industries were facing liquidity issues. He urged the government to evolve a streamlined refunds clearance process.

ICCI Tax Committee Chairman Naeem Siddiqui on the occasion said that GST in Pakistan was relatively high and that the government should bring it down to a single digit level in the next budget.

He said the number of taxes should be minimized to ease the problems of taxpayers, adding that the appeal commissioner should be made independent from FBR to ensure justice in tax disputes.

He said FBR should shun the practice of bank attachments without intimation to taxpayers, as it was tantamount to harassment of the business community.

The participants noted that FBR has increased property tax (SRO-117(1)/2019), urging the government to reduce tax on sale/purchase of property from 2pc to 1pc for non-filers and from 1pc to 0.5pc for filers.

They said that SBP has banned advance payment for imports which was affecting business activities. They were of the view that the government should impose tax on profits and not on revenue of businesses, as tax should only be applied on income. The ICCI office-bearers said that FBR should streamline its audit process, suggesting that audit of a business should be done after 3-5 years.

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