LAHORE - The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT), the apex body of the traders’ community, has submitted budget proposals to the Federal Board of Revenue, asking the FBR to include at least one representative of the traders’ community in consultative committee of the department.
The APAT general secretary Naeem Mir held a meeting with the FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa and raised the issues like releasing tax return form in Urdu, inclusion of maximum items in Sales Tax Act Third Schedule, definition of small traders and inclusion of small traders in PM Loan Scheme. FBR should issue tax return form in Urdu as majority of traders can’t understand return form in English, he suggested.
All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran (APAT) has issued directives to all its members in all districts across the country to display their National Tax Numbers prominently at their outlets, so that traders who have no NTNs are encouraged to register with the tax department, however the FBR should also implement it.
He suggested to abolish restriction of submitting nil return if there is no business activity throughout the month. He asked the FBR to impose 20 per cent tax and finish the case of those firms whose name appear through computer audit instead of scrutinizing them with a view to create friendly atmosphere with traders.
The sales tax registered companies having value addition of five percent should be exempted from sales tax audit. FBR should define small traders, proposing that traders with less than turnover of Rs20 million should be considered small traders and sales tax threshold be increased to Rs20 million per annum.
He said that the department’s aim of widening the tax base would provide major relief to the existing taxpayers. Naeem Mir claimed that Pakistani businessmen have been on top in Asia in paying taxes but the unequal system of taxation encouraged tax evaders instead of increasing revenue. It was unfortunate that citizens living below the poverty line were being forced to pay sales tax on kitchen items, he said and added that the government should reduce the indirect tax ratio to 30 per cent and the direct tax ratio should be enhanced to 70 per cent to control inflation. He said that the tax-to-GDP ratio could be improved to 10 per cent if the agri tax is brought into the tax net. Criticising the bogus refund claims, he suggested that dishonest tax officials be brought to trial in special courts. Flaying the customs’ present system of V-box, he observed that it was delaying the clearance of shipments by up to 40 days and importers had to pay huge money in the shape of demurrage due to this delay. The FBR should conduct capacity building of the Customs staff and install such a system which could clear the consignment within a week. “If the e-system fails to clear the consignment in seven days, no demurrage should be charged by the importers,” he suggested.
In the budget proposals, the APAT also criticized the prolonged, hectic and iniquitous system of refund claims clearance, saying that business community’s billions of rupees have been stuck up. He said all traders of the country are united and no one can divide them. He said that APAT will bring all factions of the Lahore traders on one platform. He said that provincial governments as well as the federal government have totally failed to deliver any facility to traders and general public.