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ISLAMABAD: All provincial revenue authorities have fully supported the development and implementation of "single portal and single return," and emphasised upon the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to move quickly for completion of the task, for ease of doing business, and harmonisation of sales tax.

Sources told Business Recorder, here on Sunday that the decision had been taken during the last meeting of the Inter-Provincial Sales Tax Coordination Committee (IPSTCC), which met in the provincial capital of Sindh on October 17, 2020, to identify the variations in the substantive and procedural sales tax law for harmonisation, with a view to improving the ease of doing business in the country.

The meeting hosted by the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) was attended by the chairpersons of the SRB and the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), all members of the SRB, and representatives of the Balochistan Revenue Authority (BRA). Officers of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA) joined the meeting virtually.

Sources said that major decisions were taken during the IPSTCC meeting to facilitate trade and industry in the services sector, and improve the avenues of investment in the country.

First, the IPSTCC decided to develop a working paper for harmonisation of the tax rates for the inter-provincial services (provided from one province to another province), and make recommendations for reduced tax rate slabs within the existing framework of the provincial sales tax laws.

Second, the schedules of taxable services given in the sales tax laws of the four provinces will be reviewed to ensure uniformity of description and classification.

Third, a roadmap for developing a working paper and implementation of the "negative list" regime for sales tax on services will be shared among the four tax authorities.

Fourth, all provincial revenue authorities will support the development and implementation of "single portal and single return" by the Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) for ease of doing business.

It was emphasised that in view of the consensus developed among all the stakeholders, the FBR needed to move quickly to introduce this.

Fifth, the SRB and all other provincial revenue authorities will continue to cooperate with the federal government for harmonisation of sales tax laws and procedures including the common definition of goods and services.

According to sources, the next meeting of the IPSTCC will be held in Lahore in the second week of November 2020.

Sources said that the tasks were mutually distributed among the four tax authorities in order to ensure expeditious outcomes of the said decisions.

The representatives of the Pakistan Software House Association (PASHA) supported by the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, were also invited to the meeting, in continuation of the previous meeting held in Lahore to discuss the avenues of simplification, harmonisation and facilitation of exports of IT services from the country.

Detailed discussion took place in order to understand the IT industry's consensus with regard to sales tax on services.

The representatives of the PASHA were assured of cooperation by the tax authorities in respect of their proposals for harmonisation and promotion of exports of IT services from the country, the sources added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020