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PESHAWAR: Regional Tax Office (RTO) Peshawar, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has tightened the noose against tax evaders under the leadership of Chief Commissioner RTO Peshawar Aqeel Ahmad Siddiqui.

Officials concerned told this scribe here on Wednesday said the RTO has established various checkpoints and mobile squads to keep an eye on goods being supplied from tax exempt areas of FATA and PATA to taxable areas under section 40D of the Sales Tax Act, 1990.

The officials said the law strictly prohibits business entities of non-tariff areas from selling items to taxable areas without charging the required Sales Tax and FED under the garb of tax exemptions

RTO Peshawar has taken an active role by establishing various checkpoints and mobile squads to monitor goods supplied from tax exempt areas of FATA and PATA to taxable areas under section 40D of the Sales Tax Act, 1990, the officials added.

As many as 82 vehicles were seized which were carrying different goods, including foam mattresses, paper and paperboard materials, plastic, steel, pipes, and cement, according to data shared with media here on Wednesday. Out of the 82 vehicles, 69 were released after payment of the required sales tax, while 13 vehicles remain under seizure, said the official data shared with the media here. According to the RTO data, the value of goods in these seized vehicles was worth millions of rupees, and consequently sales tax recovered and deposited in the national treasury amounted to around Rs. 12 million.

The officials concerned said that this is not the first time RTO Peshawar has conducted such operations. RTO Peshawar is very active in stopping the smuggling and sales of non-duty paid/counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco, they added. In the last eight months, the data showed that the RTO conducted 13 raids in which almost 23 million sticks of cigarettes, involving Federal excise Duty of more than Rs. 47 million and Sales Tax of Rs. 13 million have been seized.

Furthermore, according to official data, large quantities of prized tobacco worth 1 million have also been seized involving Rs. 444 million in FED. It is noted here that in a ceremony held at Kacha Garhi, Peshawar to counter the illicit trade of non-duty paid cigarettes almost 25 million sticks of non-duty paid/counterfeit cigarettes were set on fire, the value of which was around 90 million PKR. The FED involved was Rs. 52 million and Sales Tax of Rs. 13 million.

The officials concerned said the RTO Peshawar has been making full use of the track and trace system, which is a flagship project of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for stemming the flow of duties and taxes in five sectors, including tobacco. This system has been successfully implemented in various tobacco units of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, aiding RTO Peshawar in seizing illegal shipments of tobacco and related products, the officials said.

Presently, the officials maintained RTO Peshawar has deputed three mobile squads for surveillance and monitoring duties, with various check posts established at entry and exit points of FATA/PATA, mostly on Motorway.

The RTO said the crackdown on tax evaders is a positive step towards ensuring transparency in the tax system and promoting a culture of compliance.

The officials stressed it is essential that all businesses and individuals contribute their fair share to the national exchequer, as this revenue is critical for the development and progress of the country. Therefore, the RTO Peshawar vowed to continue its strict actions against those who evade taxes, ensuring that the country's economic growth and development remain steady.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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