Through the Finance Act 2015, a new section 236P was introduced in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001. This section envisages 0.6% adjustable withholding tax on all banking instruments of more than Rs. 50,000/- per day issued by an account holder who has not filed income tax return for tax year 2014.
Business Community expressed its reservations on introduction of this adjustable Withholding tax on non-filers. On the directions of Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, negotiations were started with the business community.
On 8th and 9th July, 2015, meetings with the business community were held in Ministry of Finance and FBR. On 9th July, 2015, an agreement was reached between FBR and business community during a meeting chaired by the Finance Minister in FBR.
In pursuance of the said agreement and as per directions of the Finance Minister to hold meaningful parleys with business community three Committees were constituted on 27th July 2015 [Income Tax Committee, Sales Tax Committee, and Communication Committee].
Initial meetings of Income Tax Committee and Communication Committee were held on 31st July 2015 and meeting of Sale Tax Committee was held on 3rd August 2015 in FBR.
Second round of meeting of Income Tax Committee was held today i.e. 6th August, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Shahid Hussain Asad, Senior Member (Inland Revenue Policy), FBR, Islamabad and was attended by office-bearers and representatives of various chambers and trade bodies. In the meeting the business community expressed satisfaction on the government’s initiatives to try to address reservations of business community. However, they requested that raids/action under section 40B of Sales Tax Act, 1990 by FBR authorities on business premises of the taxpayers may be stopped to create amicable atmosphere between the taxpayers and FBR. New Income Tax return form was also discussed during the meeting. While they expressed their satisfaction on the return performa for tax year 2015 for existing non-corporate taxpayers, they proposed that a more simplified performa of return for new filers may also be devised. The Chairman of the Committee offered the business leaders to prepare the draft performa for the new taxpayers which may be discussed in next meeting. The business leaders accepted the offer and promised to prepare a simplified performa. It was decided to hold next meeting on 12.08.2015 at 11.00 am in FBR (HQs).
Sales Tax Committee
The second meeting of the Sales Tax Committee was held under the chairmanship of Mr. Muhammad Ashraf Khan, Member (Inland Revenue Operations), FBR and was attended by office-bearers and representatives of various chambers and trade bodies. During this meeting the Mr. Muhammad Ashraf Khan, Member (IR Operations), FBR dispelled the fears of retailers and business community which has the misperception that the imposition of 0.3% bank withholding tax would show their actual turnover which may exceed Rs. 5 million and they would be forced to be registered for the sales tax regime. Mr. Muhammad Ashraf Khan said:
“For retailers, there is nothing to worry about on this count as the government has already introduced a new sales tax regime vide SRO 608/2014 which instead of applying the Rs. 5 million turnover as yardstick for mandatory registration of sales tax, introduce different categories under which the sale tax regime is applicable”,
The meeting was told that under the SRO 608/2014 dated July 2, 2014, the FG had revamped the entire system of sales tax for retailers. Under the new regime, different categories have been introduced for the registration of retailers, which included a retailer operating as a unit of a national or international chain of stores; a retailer operating in an air-conditioned shopping mall, plaza or centre, excluding kiosks; and a retailer whose cumulative electricity bill during the immediately preceding 12 consecutive months exceeds Rs. 600,000. Any retailer who does not fall in any of these categories would only pay sale tax on his electricity bill and would not be bound to register for the sales tax regime.
“Earlier, the meeting held under the chairmanship of Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, MNA & Parliamentary Secretary Finance on 03-08-2015, held detailed interactive sector-to-sector sessions with representatives of Sugar, Oil & Ghee, Cement and Embroidery sectors. Various proposals and recommendations were discussed and the representatives of these sectors were asked to fine-tune their proposals and present comprehensive sector-based recommendations to the Committee in its forthcoming meetings.
The committee would again meeting tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. at the FBR House to meet with representatives of Iron & Steel, Chip Board & Plywood, Yarn & Fiber, Ready-Made Garments & Clothing and Oil & Lubricants.
Senior Member (Inland Revenue-Policy)/ Official Spokesman, FBR