FEBR calls for legislation to safeguard existing taxpayers

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The Friends of Economic and Business Reforms (FEBR) President Kashif Anwar has called for legislations through parliament to safeguard the rights of existing taxpayers, asking the government to also launch an amnesty scheme for the filers and tax payers in line with the Assets Declaration Scheme being introduced for the non-filers.

Kashif Anwar, also former vice president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, asked the economic team of the government to respect existing taxpayers and safeguard their rights by legislation against the misuse of discretionary powers by the FBR. “Create harmonization between Sales Tax & Income Tax laws by removing those provisions which conflict with each other, he said and suggested to enhance tax base by automation and integration of revenue departments with other public entities.”

Stressing the need for relief in the upcoming federal budget 2019-20, the FEBR President pointed out that filers must be exempted from tax audits for at least next three years. The tax payers are maintaining their documentations and being regular income tax filers must be given relief in the budget, he added.

Tax base can by enhanced through automation, integration of revenue depts

In his proposals for the upcoming budget aimed at enhancing revenue collection, the FEBR president stressed the need for addressing the key issue of massive under-invoicing and suggested that import value should be fixed in consultation with the industry. He asked the government to bring down corporate tax, which currently stands at 31 %, as the Pakistan’s corporate tax rate is third highest in world.

He further said that tax holidays may be introduced for new business ventures for at least first five years from the date of incorporation for those taxpayers who incorporate their businesses as LLP.

He asked the government to take additional measures to incentivize exports and taking other measures to ease the cost of doing business and improving the overall regulatory regime to facilitate exporters. He said that the rate of income tax may be reduced from current 25% to 20% for small companies and small companies should be exempted from being withholding agent to deduct taxes and file statements.

A single online integrated Sales Tax Returns filing procedure should also be introduced for Federal and Provincial Sales Tax declaration instead of current separate filing requirements for federal and each province, he suggested.

Kashif Anwar said that economic situation would be quite good if ease of doing business is improved in Pakistan, as the importance of businesses could not be undermined for economic development as they provide jobs to the growing population, generate revenue and attract foreign investment to the country.

He said that the FEBR proposals, if considered seriously and incorporated in the federal budget, would help increase economic activity, incentives for manufacturing and SMEs and widen the tax net thereby increasing the government revenue.