Traders reject draft of fixed tax regime

  • APAT official terms FBR’s fixed tax scheme ‘a joke’, says department cannot impose taxes on the basis of an outlet’s ‘area’

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) has rejected the proposed draft of the fixed tax scheme, saying that the scheme is “full of contradictions” and “against the aspirations” of small traders.

Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Saturday, APAT Central General Secretary Naeem Mir expressed serious concern over the newly-released draft of the fixed tax regime, urging the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to finalise the scheme after due consultations with small traders.

“Involvement of small traders will ensure that the regime is acceptable to all sections of traders. It will also help improve the tax revenue of the country,” he maintained.

Tearing the draft into pieces, Mir stated that the traders would not accept the “lollypop” of fixed tax regime.

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He termed the scheme as “a joke” played with over 3.1 million traders of the country, saying that the tax department cannot impose taxes on the basis of the area of an outlet.

The APAT official regretted that jewellers, real estate agents and chartered accountants were not yet included in the tax net, whereas small traders, who were already paying taxes through power bills, were included in the fixed tax regime.

He suggested the government to adopt a comprehensive strategy for broadening the tax net, as the traders were facing multiple challenges in the wake of a new tax regime, amendments made for documentation of the economy, especially the imposition of sales tax at the import stage, retail prices and CNIC condition.

“Traders believe that every citizen must play his/her role in improving the economic condition of the country. We are not against taxation but harassment of traders in the name of tax collection must be stopped. Traders are protesting while FBR is making fun of them,” he added.

Mir believed that the government was not serious in resolving the issues of traders and was also trying to confuse them on the ID card issue. He urged the FBR to take the traders’ community on board before finalising such schemes.

He further suggested that the FBR should make categories of traders and impose a fixed tax on them according to their taxpaying ability.

“Fixed tax regime must be drafted in a way that it could minimise interaction between taxpayers and tax collectors and eliminate the chances of corruption,” he added.

Earlier on Friday, Traders Union Pakistan President Kashif Chaudhry had also termed the draft “a conspiracy to divide the traders”.

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