PM Imran to launch single sales tax portal

Published November 3, 2021
The portal would be beneficial for tax collectors in having a 360-degree view of taxpayers’ business activities across the country in order to maximise revenue potential and tax compliance. — AFP/File
The portal would be beneficial for tax collectors in having a 360-degree view of taxpayers’ business activities across the country in order to maximise revenue potential and tax compliance. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top tax machinery is all set to launch the much-awaited Single Sales Tax portal this month as part of initiatives to facilitate taxpayers and ensure ease of doing business.

This facility will enable taxpayers to file single monthly sales tax returns instead of six on different portals, thereby significantly reducing the time and cost of compliance, and thus achieving maximum efficiency.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to launch this mega national initiative later this month.

The National Tax Council, an apex tax body having representation from provinces, has developed consensus on the issue. This landmark initiative has been made possible after thorough discussions with the provincial revenue authorities of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and AJK.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday announced that the proposed single portal will facilitate taxpayers through automation, digitisation and minimisation of human interaction with tax officials.

The system would be intelligent enough to sift and collect revenues from a single taxpayer and distribute the same among multiple revenue agencies.

It is one of the major decisions as part of harmonisation involving an agreement between the federal government and the provinces to apply the same definitions, principles and rates for general sales tax (GST) on goods and services.

The portal would also be beneficial for tax collectors in having a 360-degree view of taxpayers’ business activities across the country in order to maximise revenue potential and tax compliance.

By all standards, said the FBR, this is a giant leap forward in taxpayers’ facilitation and at the same time a significant step in harmonisation of taxes between federal and provincial governments.The World Bank is pushing Pakistan for more harmonisation of general sales tax on services and goods among the federating units, maintaining that this will help tap 87 per cent potential revenue which remains largely uncollected.

The bank is also proposing to the provinces to agree on a single law, supply side rules and tax rate. The idea is to apply the same definitions, principles and rates for GST on goods and services, with the end result of easing compliance.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2021

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