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ISLAMABAD: In a major development to expedite sales tax refund payments to sectors showing growth, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Hafeez Shaikh has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to include non-zero rated industries/sectors, registering growth, in the list of sectors obtaining speedy refunds under the FASTER system.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Sunday that the decision has been taken in the progress review meeting of the FASTER held at the Ministry of Finance. The meeting was chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Hafeez Shaikh.

According to sources, Hafeez Shaikh has directed FBR to increase the number of sectors that FASTER deals with from five to include industries showing real growth from non-zero rated sectors. The number of sectors and industries would be further increased to file sales tax refunds claims under the FASTER system.

At present, the Fully Automated Sales Tax e-Refund (FASTER) procedure is applicable on five export-oriented sectors ie, textile, carpets, leather, sports goods and surgical instruments. The scope of the FASTER would be expanded to other sectors and industries as a major measure to speed up payment of sales tax refunds to other sectors and industries.

Sources said that the FBR is sanctioning refunds through FASTER (Fully Automated Sales Tax e-Refund) system developed for quick processing of refunds due to exporters. The FASTER is a fully automated system which uses a Risk Management System for processing Sales Tax Refunds without human interference. The FASTER is operational for the tax periods July and onwards.

Recently, the exporters were allowed to review and resubmit their sales tax refund claims filed under the FASTER system after removing shortcomings by September 20, 2020. This has allowed exporters to resubmit their sales tax refund claims to the tune of billions by the said deadline. The FBR said that there is an important announcement for exporters.

The sales tax refund claims of exporters which were stuck up at pre-processing stage in the FASTER system due to any reason including erroneous filing stand rolled back to provide an opportunity to exporters to review and resubmit their claims after removing shortcomings by the said deadline. All such refund claimants were informed electronically, the FBR added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020