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ISLAMABAD: The sales tax remained top revenue contributor with 41.5 percent share in the total tax collection of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) during the first half (July-December) 2020-21, followed by direct taxes with 37.6 percent, customs duty 15.3 percent, and the Federal Excise Duty (FED) 5.6 percent share.

According to the FBR report released on Wednesday, the shares of customs duty and FED have declined slightly.

The reason of declining share of customs duty is also attributed to the Covid-19-related exemptions on medical equipment w.e.f. July 2020, which has been around Rs3.7 billion.

Similarly, the FED collection has been affected because of declining revenue from Air Travel by Rs14.3 billion during first six months of 2020-21. Moreover, collection from withholding at import stage has been lesser by around Rs15 billion during the period under review.

Despite some recovery, the negative impact of Covid-19 on national economy is hampering the economic indicators to grow at full potential, which is impacting tax collection adversely.

There are Covid-driven challenges both at domestic and international front for the tax collection.

More than 40 percent of the FBR revenue depends on the national imports, thus, any problems in imports would hit the international trade taxes accordingly.

During first half of 2020-21 dutiable imports recorded negative growth by 1.1 percent thus, restricting customs duty growth to just around three percent.

The import compression affected the collection of other import-related taxes such as sales tax, the FED and withholding taxes at import stage. The collection from withholding at import stage has been Rs91 billion, which is around Rs15 billion lesser than Rs106 billion collected during the first half of 2019-20. The petroleum products at import stage recorded negative growth of 14 percent, which reduced the collection of sales tax at imports stage to the tune of Rs18 billion.

The negative growth in the sales tax collection from machinery and organic chemicals affected the collection by around Rs5 billion.

Similarly, the collection of customs duty has also been affected mainly because of negative growth in the collection from petroleum products), machinery and paper and paperboard.

The negative impact of these three items has been around Rs7 billion.

In sales tax domestic, collection from petroleum products particularly oil refineries and oil exploration has declined by 14.7 percent and seven percent reducing the collection by around Rs15 billion.

The FED collection from air travel reduced by Rs14.3 billion, during the first six months of CFY due to pandemic.

The higher refunds to the tune of around Rs79 billion or (105 percent above) as compared to first half of 2019-20, have been paid to facilitate the business community as a policy tool of the government, in order to boost the Covid-hit businesses and economic activities in the country, the FBR report added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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