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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has withheld approximately Rs39 billion sales tax refunds and customs rebate to show higher growth in revenue collection in the outgoing fiscal year, an official source told Dawn on Monday.

In spite of all this efforts to put on hold releases to exporters, the FBR witnessed more than a Rs47bn shortfall as the actual collection fell to Rs3.37 trillion in 2016-17 as against the downward revised target of Rs3.42tr.

Official data available with Dawn showed that as many as 50,765 sales tax refund claims were submitted with the FBR until June 30. Of these, 37,927 claims, worth Rs12.91bn, were deferred.

During this period, 6,633 fresh claims were submitted with the FBR involving an amount of Rs13.76bn, while in 6,205 cases, refund payment orders (RPOs) involving an amount of Rs17.92bn were issued.

According to an official, FBR has paid Rs2bn until July 14. “It is expected that the FBR will release Rs15.21bn sales tax refunds by Aug 14,” the official said, adding it was not clear whether the board will honour the target.

After the release of these refund payments, the FBR will still have to pay Rs29.38bn to exporters.

For customs rebate, the FBR has received Rs12.9bn worth claims from exporters until June 30. Of these an amount of Rs5.41bn was paid to exporters leaving behind an amount of Rs7.58bn.

Under the prime minister’s package, the total claim of duty drawback of taxes received was Rs8.9bn until June 30.

The FBR paid only Rs2.99bn under the package until June 30. Another amount of Rs4bn was released to exporters in mid-July.

The amount, which was pending with FBR was Rs1.91bn.

The government has projected to have received total claims of approximately Rs40bn between Jan 16-June 30 under the prime minister’s package and allowed cash support on export proceeds irrespective of growth.

Exports fell 1.63pc year-on-year to $20.45bn in 2016-17. This means the support will be considered on the quantum of total exports proceeds to all those sectors, especially textile and clothing, which have been identified for the support.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2017