Provinces seek place in FBR Board-In-Council

Published: October 20, 2019
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The provinces have sought representation in the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Board-In-Council as well as its Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL).

They have also demanded that board should move ahead with the decision agreed upon by all sides to appoint the chairpersons of all four provincial revenue authorities as members of the PRAL’s board of directors and also make them ex-officio members of the FBR Board-In-Council.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the provincial revenue authorities have sent a dispatch to the FBR, reminding it that at a joint meeting held for the introduction of a single portal for taxpayers they had decided that the chairpersons of the provincial revenue authorities would be included in the PRAL board of directors and also appointed ex-officio members of its Board-In-Council.

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However, the provincial revenue authorities have pointed out that these decisions had not been included in the minutes of the meeting sent to them.

The FBR and the provincial revenue authorities had held a meeting to address the latter’s reservations over a memorandum of understanding about a single portal for filing tax returns and registration.

The provinces had earlier rejected the draft of the MoU, saying that the necessary preparations for its implementation should be made first.

The FBR told the provincial revenue authorities that it would present a demonstration on the web portal first, but sent the draft of the MoU instead.

A senior FBR officer said when Hammad Azhar was the state minister for revenue, the board and the provincial revenue authorities had agreed on the MoU and it had to be signed after being finalised through consultations.

During the meeting, FBR officials assured the provincial authorities that their reservations about the MoU would be addressed. However, they sent them incomplete minutes of the meeting.

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According to sources, a single portal for filing tax returns is one of the major conditions under the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) $6 billion loan facility to Pakistan.

Not only will it facilitate the IMF reviewing the first quarter performance, but also improve ease of doing business and boost the country’s ranking.

Presently, the FBR collects sales tax on goods while the provincial revenue authorities collect tax on services. The sales tax collected by the FBR is then shared with the provinces in line with the National Finance Commission formula. Consequently, taxpayers have to file five different returns.

With the single portal, all taxpayers will be able file their sales tax returns on goods and services through a single window.

The portal will let filers select their respective revenue board.

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