PRA registers 41.6pc growth during first half of 2020-21

LAHORE: The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) collected Rs73.7 billion from July to December 2020 registering a phenomenal growth of 41.6 per cent against Rs52.1 billion collected in the first half of the previous financial year.
According to the spokesperson of PRA, “This performance is all the more remarkable in view of the unprecedented tax relief package given by the Punjab government through the Finance Act, 2020, wherein the rate of Punjab Sales Tax on Services (PSTS) on more than 25 services was reduced to support Covid-affected sectors, boost compliance and encourage documentation.”
The spokesperson added that the government of the Punjab reduced the rate of PSTS from 16 per cent to 5 per cent for various sectors that were affected by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, including marriage halls and lawns, small hotels, caterers, tour operators, rent-a-car services, photographers, gyms, and manpower recruitment services.
In addition, the rate of PSTS on health insurance, medical consultancy and hospital charges was reduced to 0 per cent to cut the cost of healthcare for the public.
The spokesperson further added that the government also reduced the rate of sales tax on restaurant and beauty parlor services from 16 per cent to 5 per cent in case of payment through credit/debit cards.
“This widely appreciated move was aimed at promoting documentation of the economy and has started to pay dividends as the proportion of customers using cards for payment is on the rise. The government also gave major tax relief to sectors considered crucial for economic growth,” she said adding that the rate of sales tax was reduced on property builders and developers from 16 per cent ad valorem to Rs100/sq yard and Rs50/ sq ft. for land developers and builders respectively.
The rate was also reduced to 5 per cent for information technology services to encourage e-commerce and to 4 per cent for ride hailing services.
She also said, “PRA’s performance is a vindication of its policy of minimum human interaction, reliance on Information Technology and creating a culture of cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders. PRA is by far the most automated organisation in the Punjab as its registration, return-filing and tax payment processes are completely automated. It was the first Provincial Revenue Authority to implement Sales Tax Real-time Invoice Verification (STRIVe) system and is the only Provincial Revenue Authority to have implemented Electronic Invoice Monitoring System (e-IMS). These two systems combine to enable pre-population of returns promoting ease of doing business as well as minimising tax fraud.”
The spokesperson informed that during the first two quarters of the current fiscal year PRA did not resort to any coercive measures for tax collection such as sealing or business premises or attachment of bank accounts. Instead, following the government’s policy of stakeholder involvement, PRA relied on taxpayer facilitation and education.
In addition to meetings with various bars, chambers and associations, PRA uploaded guides on tax processes on its websites, established facilitation desks in PRA office in Lahore as well as Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and conducted more than fifty workshops for taxpayers.
According to her, in order to further facilitate taxpayers, PRA launched TelPRA, an android-based mobile application that allows taxpayers to post feedback, suggestions, complaints and queries that are responded to by the PRA workforce.
The above steps and policies have had an extremely positive response in the shape of unprecedented revenue growth.
PRA’s percentage growth for the first half of the financial year (41.5 per cent) far surpasses all other revenue authorities in the country including FBR (4.9 per cent), SRB (15.9 per cent), KPRA and BRA.
Finance Minister Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht also appreciated the performance of PRA and stated that generating own source revenue remains a top priority for his government.
The PRA chairperson attributed all credit for the performance to his team and the immense support from the provincial finance minister.
He said that he was confident that the PRA team would continue to work hard and achieve the assigned revenue target for the Financial Year 2020-21.

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Shahab Omer
The writer is a member of the staff and can be reached on [email protected]

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