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KARACHI: FBR Chairman Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Monday said the federal government is contemplating revising the Withholding Tax (WHT) to reduce the cost of doing business.

During his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said that the WHT should be on income instead of transactions hence the federal government was considering the revision in WHT further to facilitate the trade.

He said that FBR would propose to withdraw further tax in the coming budget and hoped to control inflation by collecting taxes on import stages.

He said that the CNIC condition, which came over Rs.100 thousand transactions, faced a lot of criticism but how was it possible that the party remained anonymous during B2B transactions. He lauded the response given by the KCCI and other traders of the city on point of sale (POS); saying that the FBR was striving to expand POS countrywide.

Chairman FBR admitted that the board was collecting sales tax at a high rate and added that they were trying to withdraw all tax concessions to reduce the sales tax rate at a rational level.

Dr. Ashfaq said that FBR was facing issues in determining the tax refund payments, despite running its dedicated system FASTER at 98 percent capacity but no pending tax refunds were for the current year.

Furthermore, he said that the industry’s amnesty scheme was evolved with great hard work and no question would be asked about a money trail for the establishment of new industries; urging the business community to benefit from this scheme as there would be a five percent tax on the investments for the establishment of a new industry. In addition, investments can be poured in to revive ill industries under this scheme, he said and added that FBR was keen to give more briefing if needed to get the maximum out of this scheme.

The trade deficit is increasing despite growing exports due to unnecessary imports that hinder economic revival and dragged the country into the IMF programs several times, causing difficulties for policymakers. He said that FBR had surpassed its revenue target for the first time.

Meanwhile, President KCCI Mohammad Idrees said that the business community was facing problems due to a shortage of staff at the customs department and urged the chairman FBR to restore the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee (ADRC) and also constitute a joint committee to resolve issues on a fast track and avoid litigation.

Chairman Businessman Group Zubair Motiwala said that traders were facing severe problems due to POS conditions, which should be relaxed to attract more business to the point of sales.

While appreciating the FBR for surpassing its revenue target by over Rs. 286 billion, Zubair asked the chairman FBR about the proportion of tax refunds in this additional revenue collection.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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