RAWALPINDI: Doing one or more businesses or having more than one branch is a basic right of every citizen.

The new property tax, deemed rental income and fair value assessment in the budget, falls in the category of double taxation.

These anomalies in the budget should be removed.

Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Nadeem Rauf and group leader Sohail Altaf in a joint statement demanded that the property tax levied in Finance Bill 2022-23 be withdrawn as it discouraged business expansions.

The RCCI president said that it was the basic right of every person to do one or more business or to have multiple branches as long as these are registered in the income tax return and tax is being paid. Such properties should be exempted from the deemed income purview.

He said plots on which construction work was in progress or the plan was approved or under approval by the development authority concerned should also be exempted to encourage construction activities.

Where an agreement between the landlord and tenant is already available in tax record, such cases should not be opened for reassessment for deemed income. He said that the assessment must be on the declared value in the wealth statement if at all this deemed rental income was essential to be carried on due to any covet rationale linked with the IMF package.

Group leader Sohail Altaf said the country needs dollars at the moment, more incentives and encouragements need to be given to overseas Pakistanis.

He suggested that to encourage foreign remittances, the overseas Pakistanis should be exempted from the deemed income clause.

An individual sending $100,000 in a year be allowed to buy up to 800cc local assembled vehicles free of duty.

A separate slab can be introduced for higher categories. Most needed foreign exchange will be attracted and also the local auto-industry will benefit, he added.

Committees consisting of representatives of all chambers of commerce and traders’ associations across Pakistan should be formed for a fixed tax regime on small traders so that implementation of fixed tax can be implemented by consensus.

The government must lift the sales tax on pharmaceutical raw materials and, if needed, impose 1 per cent fixed general sales tax (GST) on pharmaceutical raw materials, he added.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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