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January 13, 2019

FBR to make tax concessions time-bound


January 13, 2019

KARACHI: The government plans to limit the time period for tax concessions, instead of exemptions for an indefinite period, an official said on Saturday.

“All exemptions will have a sunset clause and other permanent exemptions will be phased out in five years,” the official of the Finance Ministry said.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will make annual assessment of the exemption cost, including government-owned enterprises, while no new exemption will be allowed without costing and mandatory approvals, the official added.

The government had finalised policy recommendations for tax reforms, and the major initiative is separation of tax administration and policy.

“It will include activating tax policy board as per the FBR Act 2007, which consists of ministers related to commerce, finance, economic affairs, parliamentarians and tax experts.”

Besides, a tax policy unit will be established in the Ministry of Finance, comprising small group of economists and tax experts, who will act as advisers to the government.

The official said to improve integration of federal and provincial taxes, the federal government will propose measures in the next meeting of the National Finance Commission (NFC).

The proposals will include resolution of jurisdiction disputes, harmonisation of tax coding mechanism and designing uniformity of methodology for the taxation of interprovincial services.

The issue of agriculture tax will also be discussed in the meeting, the official said, adding that the meeting will also focus on enhancement in collection of agriculture income tax by the revenue authority and capacity-building of provinces.

The federal government is also in discussion with the provincial governments on tax issues of immovable properties.

The federal government has planned to include real estate sector in the taxation network by revision of FBR assessment of real estate property value and subsequent decrease in the real estate property tax.

In the next budget, the government may introduce facilitation measures to boost exports, which would include Duty and Tax Remission for Exporters (DTRE); central branded raw material warehouse facility; national single-window strategy; model business-friendly Customs clearance unit, etc, the official said.

The FBR had been assigned to take action against tax evaders. In this regard, it would collaborate with researchers and the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) to upgrade mechanism for introducing measures to identify tax evaders by using income and expenditure data.

Further, the FBR will collaborate with utility providers, including power distribution companies, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, Sui Southern Gas Company and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for data cleansing and integration to identify current user.

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