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KARACHI: In a meeting with FPCCI, Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue Ishaq Dar has agreed in principle to remove some of the major anomalies in the Finance Bill to accommodate the grievances, issues and apprehensions of the business, industry and trade community.

The meeting was also attended by Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Finance, Ashfaq Tola, Chairman of the Reforms & Resource Mobilisation Commission and the top leadership of the FBR.

According to Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, he apprised that Ishaq Dar promised to look into anomalies presented to him by FPCCI on income tax, WHT, sales tax, FED and Customs to reduce cost of doing business in Pakistan; and, to improve investor sentiment in the country. One of the most important demands accepted by the finance minister is that the measures will be incorporated to broaden the tax base; instead of deepening the tax base through squeezing the existing taxpayers.

The FPCCI chief apprised that it was agreed that parity will be applied on industrial and commercial importers of the raw materials in their income tax through the means of WHT for the level-playing field. Similar economic activities like logistics, goods carriers and oil transporters will be treated at par as well.

Section 99D of the ITO also came under discussion and it was agreed that it is inequitable to tax only the gains, profits and dividends – and, not accounting for the losses and other adverse economic factors.

Therefore, levying of the additional tax will be reconsidered. Additionally, reimposition of 10 percent tax on bonus shares will also be reconsidered.

Sheikh also categorically opposed super tax under Section 4-C of ITO as counterproductive for business, commercial and industrial activities of the country; as we cannot punish the business community for generating revenues, employment and making justified profits in the process.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh maintained that deceptive marketing of SEZs as the facilities having tax holiday; but, on the other hand, the government has imposed turnover tax on them. Therefore, it has to be withdrawn to stand true to the tax holiday claims.

Engr M A Jabbar, VP of FPCCI, proposed that level-playing field should be given to the local manufacturers to enable them for import substitution.

He also reiterated FPCCI’s demand that fair protective and retaliatory mechanism should be allowed to the business community vis-à-vis excesses and harassment of the taxation authorities. He also demanded that the condition of local manufacturing for duty-free imports of goods for power generation be excluded besides providing tax-parity for imports and local manufacturing for solar systems.

Jabbar also emphasised on doing away with the condition of CNIC at the time of sale of goods as it is illogical; and, only further encourage the flying invoices. Business community also demands that data and privacy of taxpayers should be protected at all costs, rights of the taxpayers should be adhered to in accordance with the constitution and Section 33 of FTO should be employed for alternative dispute resolution for all purposes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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