ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) has expressed concerns over the new taxation package for traders and said that the Voluntary Tax Compliance Scheme (VTCS) should be extended to sales tax as well to bring all businesses under its umbrella.
In a letter forwarded to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance on Saturday, PTBA Senior Vice President Jamil Akhter Baig said that the tax amnesty scheme should be available to all businesses – irrespective of their nature – and the ambit of the VTCS should be extended to all banking transactions.
Mr Baig, who is also chairman of the VTCS Review Committee in the association, deplored that the scheme was silent on sales tax.
Tax bar expresses concern that provisions of tax compliance scheme may be challenged by other segments within business community
“This should be clear, because there are fears that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is casting a net to bring the traders in the ambit of sales tax through VTCS, leaving them open to sales tax-related audit and investigations later,” Mr Baig added.
The letter of public concern, addressed to the parliamentary committee, said: “Therefore, it would be appropriate to present the VTCS for both, income and sales tax.”
The letter said that the government was introducing VTCS for ‘traders’, which shall mean that traders would enjoy immunity from any probe of their banking transactions for the 10 years prior to 2015.
The Tax Bar Association said that this was discriminatory and could attract litigation by other segments within the business community.
“In order to avoid these complications, it is appropriate that the scope of VTCS be extended to banking transactions of all undeclared bank accounts of the filers as well as non-filers,” the letter by the association said.
“It is more practical that FBR indiscriminately offers all account holders to declare their undeclared accounts against payment of 0.1 per cent to 0.6 per cent tax on banking transactions for the last five years, starting from July 2009 to June 2014.”
Mr Baig’s letter suggests that the government should also issue a warning that if any person does not declare their transactions voluntarily, the FBR would take information from the banks and collect the tax forcibly.
On the contrary, Asad Mashhadi, former Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) president and a member of the team that devised the VTCS, said that the scheme would resolve traders’ taxation issues.
Talking to media, he said that the key feature of the tax amnesty scheme was that the traders would be brought under the tax net and after becoming a filer, they would be exempted from the newly-introduced 0.06 per cent withholding tax on banking transactions.
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