Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi said on Wednesday that FBR has not suspended ongoing exercise of verification of import documents of outlets/shops selling imported goods across the country. Talking to Business Recorder, Shabbar Zaidi said that it is an ongoing exercise which has neither been stopped, nor suspended. Special teams are regularly visiting the markets to collect data needed for the documentation of the outlets selling imported goods in the country, he said.
"Anti-smuggling drive will continue and expand", FBR Chairman added. The special joint teams of the FBR had launched a major anti-smuggling drive from September 1, 2019 at major shopping centres and large retail outlets in all major cities to verify import documents of foreign goods available in the markets. Recently, Shabbar Zaidi informed that FBR joint teams visited leading malls at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for verification of import documents of imported goods being sold at these outlets. FBR teams visited malls at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad as a part of tax expansion and anti-smuggling drive.
The FBR said, "This exercise does not represent 'raid' on the premises or any coercive action against the traders. The purpose of this exercise is only to ensure that relevant import documents are available and foreign goods available for sale are properly backed by documents." "It has been decided that such exercises will be undertaken on 'test' check basis. All teams will be conducting respective identification as being officially designated and the team will be headed by a senior person. In case if for any reason such documents are not readily available at the shops/offices then teams will provide adequate opportunity to submit the document in the respective offices/ shops after reasonable time," the FBR added.
FBR had cautioned the trader community against dealing in non-tax paid locally produced and smuggled goods as Pakistan's economy in general and industrial activities in particular are being seriously affected due to such goods in the markets. FBR is strengthening its efforts has started a phased programme in this regard which includes verification of documents regarding locally produced goods and imported goods. Accordingly, joint teams of Customs and IRS were constituted to visit major shopping areas.
The FBR teams were carrying production, domestic sales and import data of these outlets. The team seeks identification of the imported and locally produced goods and highlighted discrepancies where record of any particular outlet did not commensurate with goods being displayed. In such cases, the outlets were advised to update their returns. Under the Provisions of the Customs Act, 1969 FBR has powers to seek import documents for the imported goods available for sale to consumers from the person dealing in such goods.