Industrialists propose cut in sales tax rate


May 10, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Industrialists in Islamabad have demanded a reduction in sales tax rate to facilitate consumers.

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here on Monday finalised and submitted tax proposals to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for the federal budget 2010-11. The proposals were finalised during a meeting of the ICCI’s sub-committee on taxation, chaired by ICCI President Zahid Maqbool, said a press statement. The FBR was asked to consider reducing duties and taxes on smuggling-prone items to promote legal imports. “This measure will also improve tax revenues of the government,” the statement said.

The ICCI said that corporate tax rate should be reduced from 35 per cent to 25 per cent to attract investment and joint ventures in the country. It asked the government to reduce duty on the import of pharmaceutical raw material from 10 per cent to 5 per cent to enable pharma companies provide medicines to people at affordable prices. The ICCI committee members were of the view that withholding tax is an indirect tax which is against the spirit of income tax and proposed that the scope of withholding tax should be narrowed to give people some comfort.

They called for making the National Tax Number (NTN) compulsory for sale and purchase of property and other assets, which would help broaden the tax base. At the same time, they said that existing tax filers should not be harassed as such measures would discourage potential taxpayers from coming into the tax net. They said that recognition of taxpayers’ contribution and offering them specific social privileges like giving priority treatment at airports and in government hospitals could motivate others to come into the tax net.

ICCI President Zahid Maqbool said that database of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the FBR should be integrated to ensure that corporate entities registered with the SECP were regular taxpayers. This would also help in tracking tax evaders, he added.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 11th, 2010.

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