No tax imposed on edible items: FBR Chairman

Our target is to broaden the tax net. We will not take any decision that hurts our industry or trade: Shabbar Zaidi

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi on Friday said no tax has been imposed on edible items including flour, ghee or any other items.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Zaidi clarified that no tax has been imposed on flour, fine flour, fine,  flour (suji) or any edible items.

“Our target is to broaden the tax net. We will not take any decision that hurts our industry or trade,” he said.

He refuted the news, claiming imposition of tax on flour and other edible items, he urged the media to support the FBR for creating awareness among people regarding the tax reforms and expansion of tax base in the country.

“I have spoken to the district administration of Islamabad to take strict action against those involved in market deception and tax fraud,” Zaidi said.

Responding to a question he said the FBR wanted to automate the tax system to have less human interference, which would make the board’s reform strategy successful. “Under section 114, the FBR is authorised to send notices people, who own 500-yard house, for property tax.”

In response to another question regarding mobile importers, Zaidi said that duty-free mobile importers wanted to come into the net but they were willing to pay less against the actual taxes.

“The government is committed to stopping the under-invoicing for documenting the country’s economy,” he said.

The FBR chairman further said, the government would desist from taking any decision that are counterproductive for the textile industry. “The board has been engaged in negotiations with the business community all across the country and is discussing mainly two issues including SRO 1125, which is related to zero-rating and requirement of Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) for sales tax.”

“We are clear, we do not take any decision that would affect the industry and business of Pakistan,” he said, adding that the textile industry of Pakistan was on the path of growth.

Clarifying that CNIC requirement was only for sales tax, he said that confusions were being created on the issue as some people were trying to resolve their other issues by exploiting this matter.

The FBR chairman added CNIC requirement had not emerged in income tax law, rather it came under sales tax law.

“Out of 220 million population, there were around 47,000 people registered in sales tax, however only 19,000 were paying tax. The FBR wants to introduce fixed tax scheme for small shopkeepers and this would resolve the CNIC issue,” he said, adding that there was a need to define ‘small shopkeeper’ and urged the business community to draw these limit lines.

He added, the FBR’s aim was to enhance tax-base and it was working to achieve this objective.

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