LAHORE: Mohsin Rafique, Collector of Customs Appraisement, Lahore, has said that from January 20, 2021 all duties and taxes exceeding Rs one million will be paid only through e-payment system. He announced this at a seminar held at APTMA Punjab, Lahore.
Abdul Rahim Nasir, Chairman APTMA Punjab, Mohammad Raza Baqir, Secretary General, APTMA and a large number of member mills attended the seminar.
Mohsin Rafique informed the participants that in compliance with FATF requirements and as a measure towards digitisation and automation of economy, federal government has now made it mandatory on all importers to make payment of duties and taxes over Rs 1 million through internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs, over the counter (OTC) or any other electronic method approved by the State Bank of Pakistan.
He said in continuation of FBR reforms and modernization drive, e-payment facility for payment of all FBR taxes as well as some provincial taxes has been introduced for convenient and hassle free payment. On the one hand, traders can electronically pay all import duties and taxes through Customs computerized system WeBOC at ports and border stations across Pakistan. While on the other hand, taxpayers can also electronically pay income tax, sales tax and Federal Excise duty sitting in their homes. This e-payment system provides round the clock facility to taxpayers and traders to make online payment of Customs duties and other FBR taxes as well as provincial cess and stamp duty. The facility is available through internet and mobile banking by using more than 15000 ATMs of 16000 Over the Counters (OTC) bank branches of commercial banks spreading across the country.
The taxpayers' confidence and interest in e-payment is growing fast and it can be gauged from the fact that the proportion of e-payments of Income Tax, Sales Tax and Federal Excise Duty has increased from 6.26% of total payments during July to December 2019 to more than 40% during the same period of the year 2020. Similarly, the proportion of amount deposited in these e-payments has jumped from 13.55% of total payments to 76.5% during the comparative period of the current year, he added.
According to him, e-payment facility has greatly helped the traders and other taxpayers' during the Covid pandemic since all transactions can be completed without physical interaction. Currently 18.6% of import duties and taxes are being collected by Pakistan Customs through e-payment system. More than 80,000 consignments consisting of nearly 22% of total imports were cleared in WeBOC through e-payment in the last 6 months. Apart from major Customs stations including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar, the facility is also being availed by importers in remote areas like Taftan and Khunjerab.
Addressing the seminar, Rahim Nasir Chairman appreciated the role of Customs Department in fully automating the processes and facilitating the trade through out of box solutions. He expressed the hope that FBR will continue its drive to bring more transparency in clearance of import and export consignments. He thanked Collector of Customs for sparing the time to educate APTMA members on the proposed e-payment system.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021