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PRA to introduce restaurant invoices monitoring system

Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) has decided to introduce 'Restaurant Invoices Monitoring System (RIMS)' aimed at making food sector compliant to Punjab Sales Tax in a bid to enhance the revenue to the provincial exchequer. Rules in this regard have been drafted which also include a prize scheme to convince the masses for demanding sales tax compliant invoices from the restaurants.

A summary has been sent to the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for final approval, PRA sources told Business Recorder on Tuesday. During the year 2012-13, food sector services yielded revenue of Rs 1.8 billion, while during the first five months of 2013-14, Rs 1.1 billion have been collected. PRA sources further said that there was a widespread tendency of tax misdeclarations in restaurants operating in Punjab especially those which were not incorporated or not part of international restaurant chains. Even tax amounts received from the customers are misappropriated, the summary claimed.

In order to overcome such traditionally entrenched unhealthy tendency, PRA has prepared a restaurant invoice monitoring system software. The scheme was in principle concurred. The major cornerstones of the proposed scheme were installation of a well protected modem in the invoice generating computer system of the restaurant, real time transmission of invoice data to PRA's central computer system, automated verification of monthly tax declarations through the system.

Now the authority, after discussions with the PRAL, had drafted the Punjab RIMS rules and sent a summary to the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for final approval. According to the summary appropriate definitions of the words like restaurants, RIMS and video vigilance have been given for the purposes of real time monitoring and distribution of prizes. Application of RIMS has been subjected to advance notification to the restaurant. A method for examination and verification of the existing invoice generated system of the restaurant has been provided.

The authority will also provide training and initial operational help to restaurants. The intentional damage/intervention or violations of RIMS-covered system have been subjected to penal actions including prosecution already covered in the statute book, the summary added.

It is believed that RIMS is going to be a major breakthrough in the history of business documentation of the country. It is hoped that with the implementation of RIMS, Punjab sales tax revenue from restaurants will sharply increase, sources concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013