FBR chief allays traders’ concerns over possible raids

Published November 30, 2019
FBR says turnover tax will be reduced for small businesses on case-to-case basis and its threshold will be enhanced. — APP/File
FBR says turnover tax will be reduced for small businesses on case-to-case basis and its threshold will be enhanced. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi has assured the business community that raids would not be carried out on places of registered taxpayers for collection of income tax or sales tax.

He, however, called upon businessmen and traders to help the authorities solve the problems of smuggling and tax evasion.

Talking to a delegation of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) here on Friday, the FBR chief said he would ask the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation of Inland Revenue (IR) to largely refrain from mounting raids.

Mr Zaidi agreed to a proposal for granting the power of imposing penalties to an official not below the rank of an FBR member, who would evaluate the complaints/charges against an individual and then give permission for a raid, if really needed.

Says that turnover tax will be reduced for small businesses on case-to-case basis and its threshold will be enhanced

The sensitive issue came under discussion when some members of the RCCI delegation expressed strong reservations over the raids being conducted by the FBR officials along with security personnel and termed them “totally unjustified”.

The FBR chairman told the delegation that turnover tax would be reduced for small traders and businessmen on a case-to-case basis and its threshold would be enhanced. “Haj companies making payments to Saudi Arabia under Section 152 will be evaluated and exempted from withholding tax,” he added.

“The threshold for withholding agents registered with sales tax will be enhanced; the importers’ registration and the web-based registration package WEBOC will be made easier,” Mr Zaidi said.

RCCI president Saboor Malik said to the FBR chief: “The economy is passing through difficult times and we are also suffering, but we require better partnership with the FBR as joint efforts are essential for the economy’s revival.”

He said that raids and closure of business centres gave a negative message, besides adversely affecting the reputation and goodwill of the businesses concerned.

The RCCI delegation included Sohail Altaf, Jalil Ahmed Malik, Asad Mashhadi, Raja Amer Iqbal and Shahid Saleem. FBR’s member for tax policy Hamid Attiq also attended the meeting.

“The situation [during a raid] gives the impression that an activist of a banned or terrorist outfit has been arrested,” said Mr Malik while explaining the manner in which the FBR officials carry out the raids on business centres.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2019

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