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ISLAMABAD: The scope of ‘sales tax fraud’ is intended to be enlarged by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) by seeking amendment to Section 2(37) of the Sales Tax Act, 1990.

The board has placed a draft amendment to simplify and harmonize the Inland Revenue statute on its website for general input and feedback.

The existing definition of sales tax fraud provided under Section 2(37) is quite comprehensive, however, the new proposed definition is more exhaustive and drafted to further enlarge its scope, Arshad Shehzad tax expert from Karachi commented.

Directorate I&I detects mega scam of fake ST inovices

He informed there are several judgments on the burden of proof, mandatory conditions for committing tax fraud, element of collusion, and civil and criminal consequences of tax fraud. It seems a deliberate effort is being made to overcome the implication of the ratio held in these judgments and enlarge the scope of tax fraud in many different aspects.

He also informed that this amendment has consequences for other provisions of the Sales Tax Law, including the scope of the investigative audit, sales tax registration suspension, disallowance of input tax, tax assessment, and penal actions. In his opinion, more stringent laws are being proposed to expand the discretionary powers of the tax officers, under this exercise for simplification and harmonisation of Inland Revenue statutes.

The proposed modified tax frauds definition now may include:

(37) “tax fraud” means intentional evasion of legally due tax or obtaining of undue refund by submission of false return, statements or false documents or withholding of correct information or documents and includes-

(a) suppression of sales or receipts that are chargeable to tax or duty under this act;

(b) false claim of deductions or expenses;

(c) making taxable supplies of goods or services without issuing any invoice, in violation of the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder

(d) issuance of any invoice or bill without supply of goods or services leading to wrongful availing or utilization of input tax credit, deduction or refund of tax;

(e) availing of input tax credit or deduction using an invoice or bill referred to in clause (d);

(f) evasion of tax by availing undue input tax credit, deduction or obtaining undue refund by any means or method other than that covered under clauses (a) to (e);

(g) collection of any amount as tax but failing to deposit the same in the prescribed manner beyond a period of three months from the date on which such payment becomes due;

(h) falsification or substitution of financial records or production of fake accounts or documents or furnishing of any false information through human, mechanical or electronic means with an intention to evade tax due under this Act; (h) tampering with or destroying of any material evidence or documents required to be maintained under this Act or the rules made thereunder through human or digital means; or

(i) acquisition, possession, transportation, disposal or in any way removing, depositing, keeping, concealing, supplying, or purchasing or in any other manner dealing with, any goods in respect of which there is reasons to believe that these are liable to confiscation under this Act or the rules made thereunder.

Explanation.- Any act or omission mentioned in this clause shall be treated as intentional unless the person accused of tax fraud proves that he had no intention, motive, knowledge, or reason to believe that he was committing a tax fraud.“

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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