KARACHI: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has announced a plan to reduce the fixed tax rate to Rs3,000 for non-filers from Rs6,000 on electricity bills, besides exempting consumers whose bills were up to 150 units.

A press release in this regard was issued by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) while referring to a zoom meeting held between the Finance Minister, Chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) Zubair Motiwala, President KCCI Muhammad Idrees and small traders on Monday night.

Several trade bodies have been holding protests against the Rs6,000 tax introduced in the Finance Act 2022.

The Finance Minister promised to remove all the other taxes from the electricity bills once the fixed tax regime is activated to avoid double taxation. Only GST on electricity consumption will be applicable and at the year-end, they will be required to submit a document to intimate the tax authorities about the payment of taxes during the year. He also agreed to consider the demand of small traders when increasing the threshold.

During the session, KCCI leadership expressed concerns over the high rate of taxes being charged on electricity bills. They argued that commercial consumers are already paying multiple taxes on their monthly electricity bills, including fuel adjustment surcharge, electricity duty, income tax, general sales tax, extra GST, and further GST.

The KCCI leadership urged the government to accept the genuine demands of small businessmen who are already struggling to make both ends meet and increase the suggested threshold of 150 units of electricity consumption from the fixed tax regime and remove other taxes from electricity bills.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2022

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