PTI govt likely to introduce mobile app for GST collection

App will notify consumers about tax receipt through a simple message

Irshad Ansari April 12, 2019
A man uses a smartphone. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to introduce a mobile app for real time collection of general sales tax (GST) charged by hotels and restaurants throughout the country.

The final decision on this matter will be taken after consultation with all the stakeholders.

The app will send consumers an instant receipt confirming tax collection from them and help enhance government’s revenue from food and accommodation sector.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the finance ministry penned a letter to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in this regard following which, the latter decided to review the recommendation of a mobile app for hotels and restaurants.

The letter observed that all luxury hotels and restaurants in the country collected GST besides their usual bills. Even the restaurants that do not provide computerised bills charged sales tax, the letter continued.

“It is unconfirmed whether the tax, charged by hotels and restaurants, is actually deposited in the national treasury and within prescribed time limit or not,” it added.

Furthermore, the app can be integrated with the tax mechanism so that GST payments are made on real-time basis.

The system would benefit the government by transferring taxes to the national exchequer instantly. On the other hand, it would also ensure the consumers that their payment has entered the national treasury. The regional tax office of Islamabad, an institution functioning under the FBR, has installed a web-based restaurant invoice system throughout the city.

According to the sources, the system permitted the FBR to digitally monitor payments received by the restaurants in Islamabad. The data from the newly installed systems was sent to the regional tax office with instructions to classify restaurants under different categories as per threshold of their electricity and gas bills and charge taxes accordingly. 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2019.

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