PTBA Tax Proposal to the Government



Abdul Qadir Memon -Karachi

General  Secretary

Muhammad Zubair- Karachi

Senior Vice President

Aftab Hussain Nagra- Sialkot

Armghan Ali Sheikh -Lahore

Ch. Muhammad Khalid Asad – Multan

Haider Ali Patel – Karachi

lftikhar Ahmad Khan – Faisalabad Mushtaq Ahmad -Peshawar Muhammad Muneeb- Balochistan Zahid Ateeq Chaudry- Lahore

Vice President

Ahmad Saeed- Mirpurkhas

Arshad Iqbal Rana- Lahore

Javaid  Iqbal Chaudry- Bahawalpur Khursheed Anwar  Khan- Mianwali Mian Amir Zia -Rahim Yar Khan Muhammad Aslam Ansari-  Kasur Muhammad   Iqbal  Malik- Sargodha Muhammad Saqib Sheikh – Gujranwala Muhammad  Shakeel  Mughal- Lahore

Muhammad Waheed Haider- Rawalpindi

Joint Secretary

Muhammad Arshad Qureshi -Central Sindh

Information Secretary

Shahbaz Qadir- Lahore


Muhammad Aleem -Karachi

Asad Umar
Further to our letter dated August 27, 2018, we take this opportunity to present important proposals related to Indirect Taxes for your kind consideration, to be presented by your goodselfin the forthcoming National Assembly session, where additional Budget proposals arefor to be discussed and approved accordingly:-

1.  Harmonization Of Federal And Provincial Taxes

1.1 Problem


All four Provinces and Federal Government have introduced distinct Service tax laws for their respective jurisdictions which is undesirable and unworkable in Pakistan. This distinction also paves ways for transfer of  business from one jurisdiction to another where the tax rate(s) is low or particular services is not taxable. This situation is causing a lot of confusion, harassment, litigation, extreme unrest and problems amongst the business community.

For instance, in case of a manufacturer of garments, the manufacturer was served with a notice from the Sindh  Revenue Board (SRB) that he is providing designing services and therefore, required to pay sales tax to SRB, even though he is paying sales tax to FBR on supply of garments. Such type of notices create mistrust between taxpayers and revenue authorities.

Similar is the situation in case of a registered person based at Karachi and provide services in Lahore in respect its Origination and Temination.

1.2 Recommendations

It is recommended that a uniform service tax law may be drafted and agreed upon by all Provincial and Federal Government for implementation in their respective jurisdiction by respective tax authorities. Further, a uniform tax return may also be introduced for the taxpayers. Moreover a registered person should deal with one agency instead of dealing with four revenue authorities for filing of return, audit, monitoring and verification of payment.

Following steps may resolve many issues and can bear immediate results:-

  1. Revenue authorities should decide and agree with the basis of levying of indirect tax on services which can either be ORIGINATION or TERMINATION, to establish jurisdiction of taxation of services;
  2. One consolidated return may be filed with identification of provincial head of account and direct deposit of share of tax of each province;
  3. Mechanism for adjustment of taxes collected by Authorities, without causing botheration to the taxpayers;
  4. Harmonization of tariff headings and definition/scope of services; and
  5. Central directorate of audit and monitoring having representation from four different revenue agencies and FBR be established.

1.3 Rationale

A single, stable and harmonized tax regime would result in:-

  1. Creation of better business environment;
  2. Minimize litigation and enhance revenues;
  3. Taxpayers facilitation;
  4. Ease of enforcement;
  5. Expansion of tax base;
  6. Quick, easy and efficient tax audits;
  7. Avoidance of transfer of business activity from one Province f Territory to another to gain tax advantage; and
  8. Avoidance of double taxation.

2. Rationalization of High Rate Of Tax

2.1    Problem

Present standard rate of 17% Sales Tax with an additional 3% value addition on commercial importers is too high. It is a bottle-neck in inducing people to come within tax net, besides also contributing towards inflation.

There is a narrow  tax base due to the high rate of tax, which induces tax evasion, under invoicing, corruption and smuggling.

2.2   Recommendations

  1. Standard tax rate should be reduced to 15% and should further gradually be reduced to 5% in the subsequent five years of present government.
  2. We are cognizant that reduction of tax rate will result in significant decrease in Government’s Hence, in order to bridge the potential revenue gap as a result of slash in tax rate, we recommend the following measures:-
  3. Value addition tax (i.e., 3%) may be levied on import of luxury goods I items, which areexpected to be sold at a higher value addition in the local market as compared to other goods;
  4. Exemptions presently available under 6th Schedule of the Act and through various SROs should be minimized and unwarranted subsidies should be done away with;
  5. All taxable goods I activities should be taxed across the board without any threshold, as the same is creating distortion and encouraging evasion of tax under the garb of threshold;
  6. Zero ratings and reduced ratings awarded to certain sectors I classes of goods should be rationalized and accordingly minimized;
  7. Government should move towards automation of data, research and analysis of various sectors of economy and their respective contribution to tax revenue through specialized techniques;
  8. Proper administration in order to avoid revenue leakages and inadmissible refunds;
  9. Government should strengthen its audit capacity both at field formation and at the Board level; and
  10. Media campaign be started to highlight regarding benefits of registration and to be a Filer, with success stories from businessmen having sales tax registration.

Also Read: Letter to finance minister: Shift tax policymaking from FBR to new body, suggests PBC

2.3      Rationale

The lower tax rate will encourage the unregistered taxpayers to get themselves registered so that they can avail the benefits of input adjustment which is currently not available to unregistered persons. Moreover, the same will serve as a step towards documentation of economy.

3.  Abolition of Presumptive I Value Addition I Fixed Tax Regimes

3.1   Problem

Presently, certain sectors I goods are being taxed under special procedures/ Minimum Value Addition/ Fixed Tax Regimes.The different regimes have created distortion and provided room for manipulation etc.

3.2     Recommendation

It is proposed that all Presumptive I Value Addition I Fixed Tax Schemes should be abolished and all such sectors I goods may be brought under the uniform and normal tax regime.

3.3    Rationale

To bring harmony in the tax system in line with the international best practices applicable under the Value Added Tax (VAT} laws.

4 .  Introduction of Group Taxation in Sales Tax

4.1     Problem

At present, there is no concept of Group Taxation under the STA on the pattern allowed under the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 (the IT Ordinance).

4.2     Recommendations

i}        The provisions of law to this effect should be incorporated in the STA; whereby group companies should be allowed an option to be taxed as one fiscal unit for the purposes of Sales Tax.

ii}      The conditions for exercising the option specified under the IT Ordinance may be adopted for the purpose of ST Act as well.

iii}     The sales tax refundable of one group company may be adj ustable against the sales tax payable of another group company.

4.3     Rationale

  1. On the one hand accumulation of sales tax refunds is increasing cost of doing business and on the other hand it is gaining bad name for the FBR and Government of
  2. Slow processing of sales tax refunds and their accumulation is resulting in an ever increasing cost to registered persons as well as for the Government; because FBR is legally bound to pay compensation for delay of
  3. Increase in the cost of doing business as compared to regional competitors making Pakistan an unattractive investment destination and also affecting its
  4. The concept of Group Taxation is available in developed economies like United Kingdom

5. Allow-ability of Input Tax Credit On Building Materials- Sec 8(1)(H)

5.1 Problem

In terms of Section 8(1)(h), input tax paid on acquiring building materials is not allowed except that used directly in the production or manufacture of taxable goods.

The department disallows input tax paid on building materials even in cases where construction of project is resulting in generation of taxable activity.

5.2 Recommendation

The above provisions is against the international best practice of VAT laws and providing discretionary powers to the Department as such the same may be withdrawn. Input tax on building materials should be allowed and only those items be disallowed which are specifically stated under the law in order to keep check on the discretionary powers.

5.3 Rationale

Such restriction on legitimate tax credits discourages investment in large projects that will further reduce the economic activity in the country. Input tax on building materials, if allowed under the law, will reduce the cost of projects, especially alternate energy projects which will also encourage investment, and in the long run, beneficial for revenue generation for the Government.

6. Allow-ability of Revision Of Sales Tax Return – Section 26(3)

6.1 Problem

In case of any omission of wrong declaration in the sales tax return, registered person is required to obtain approval from the Commissioner Inland Revenue in order to enable him to revise the return.

6.2  Recommendation

A mechanism should be introduced to automatically allow revision of sales tax return where revision is required to make payment of sales tax liability in addition to liability assessed in the already submitted return. Moreover, in all other cases, revision request should be allowed on automated basis where request is not approved I rejected (with justifiable reasons) by Commissioner within a week of application.

6.3  Rationale

There are various instances where request made by the registered person is not entertained by the Commissioner Inland Revenue or approval is granted after lapse of considerable time period. STA does not provide any remedy to account for such situations.

7.  ‘Further tax’ be part of output tax- section 3(1a) read with section 7

7.1 Problem

“Further Tax” has always been part of output tax in the past. However through the amendment made in Section 7 vide Finance Act,2014, ‘Further Tax’ is now not part of output tax leading to higher mandatory payment pursuant to Section 8B of the STA. Moreover, it is not adjustable against overall liability of the registered withholding tax agents and is directly payable to the exchequer. This results in unnecessary increase in cost of doing business and unrest amongst the taxpayers creating a negative business environment.

7.2  Recommendation

“Further Tax” should be treated as part of Output Tax.

7.3   Rationale

The provisions of STA will become in accordance with VAT law applicable globally. It will reduce cost of doing business and create trust between taxpayers & tax collector.

8. Further Tax- Persons Not Liable To Be Registered

8.1 Problem

In terms of the judgment pronounced in Writ Petition 17639/2013 dated 20 March 2014 by the Honourable Lahore High Court, the FBR had issued a General Order 68 of 2014 (STGO);whereby framework was prescribed to ascertain whether a particular business was not liable to registration under Section 14 of the STA and accordingly “Further Tax” will not be chargeable. However, such STGO is ambiguous and does not address the issue in the manner as envisaged in the Honourable LHC’s decision .

Also Read: Senate body demands report from FBR on revenue shortfall

8.2 Recommendation

The mechanism laid down in STGO 68 of 2014 should be simplified and spelled out clearly PTBA recommends that persons not engaged in any activity taxable under sales tax law (e.g. service providers falling under the respective provincial sales tax laws and FED, NGOs, educational institutions, hospitals, etc.) may be exempted from “Further Tax”, subject to the condition that they obtain related exemption certificate from the Commissioner having jurisdiction certifying the nature of business of such person.

8.3 Rationale

Equitable taxation for persons otherwise exempted under the STA and reduction in litigation.

9. Extention of Time Period For Claiming Input Tax/Refunds- Sections 7(1) & 66

9.1 Problem

Presently, the time period for claiming input tax paid on purchase is six months from the end of the month in which purchase was made. PTBA is of the view that time limitation imposed by the law is very short and against the principles of natural justice.

9.2 Recommendation

The time period for claiming input tax on purchases should be increased to at least one year from the present six months.

9.3 Rationale

Increase in time period for claiming input tax is in accordance with the international best
practice. It will facilitate registered persons and there will be no revenue loss as well.

10.  Allow-ability of Issuance of  Debit & Credit Notes in Case Of Bad Debts – Section 9

10.1   Problem

Currently there is no provision in the STA to recognize sales tax which becomes a bad debt subsequent to supplier’s payment thereof to the exchequer. Moreover, adjustment on account of debit I credit notes is available to the extent of 180 days, which is in sufficient .

10.2   Recommendations

i}     The adjustment of genuine bad debt be allowed to the supplier, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the debt is irrecoverable as provided under section 29 of IT Ordinance; and.

ii}     The minimum time period for issuance of debit I credit notes should at least be extended to 365 days.

10.3    Rationale

In the present era, where technology checks can be placed, as long as the registered person is able to prove the genuineness of original and revised transaction, no time limits may be imposed upon him under the rules for issuing debit and credit notes or enjoying related tax credit/ adjustment. Moreover, bad debts is a ground reality in business world and hence be allowed in the interest of justice and equity.

11. Discharge of Liability at Subsequent Stage- Section 1

11.1   Problem

In plethora of judgments of the Superior Court, it is now a settled principle of law that if any liability for short paid tax is subsequently discharged then the same cannot be recovered from the taxpayer again, as it would tantamount to double taxation. However, unfortunately, such provision is not part of the STA.

11.2    Recommendation

It is suggested that sub-section (4A} be inserted in Section 11of the STAas follows :

“Where at the time of recovery of Sales Tax under sub-sections (1}, (2), or (4}, it is established that the sales tax that was required to be paid or deducted has meanwhile been paid by that person or recovered from the supply chain, no recovery shall be made from the person who had initially failed to pay or deduct the sales tax or had paid or deducted short amount sales tax” . The above principle has been approved by the superior courts and commonly practiced in the income tax cases.

11.3  Rationale

The Sales Tax law requires the payer to withhold certain amount of sales tax from the recipient and this amount is directly required to be deposited by the payer to the credit of the recipient.

In instances where there is a default in withholding tax, the provisions of law authorize the tax authorities to recover the amount of sales tax not withheld. However, it is possible that the recipient may have deposited the entire sales tax himself at the time of filing his sales tax return for that tax period, therefore it is suggested that the recovery of tax should be restricted to such cases only where the sales tax in question is clearly unpaid by both parties. The amendment will avoid double taxation.

12. Issuance of  Notification  For  Process  of  De-Registration,   Blacklisting  and  Suspension  of Registration-Section  21 (2)

12.1 Problem

The law provides that before blacklisting or suspending any taxpayer’s registration, the Commissioner will follow the relevant procedure as prescribed under the notification to be published in the Gazette.

12.2 Recommendation

Despite lapse of considerable time, the said Notification prescribing the procedure for blacklisting and suspension has not been issued by the Government of Pakistan. Accordingly, the powers exercised under Section 21(2) have been discarded by the Appellate fora. It is therefore recommended that the relevant notification be issued at the earliest.

12.3 Rationale

Application of the law should be in the manner as enacted by the Legislature.

13. Allow-ability of Extra Tax- Section 3(5) read with Section 8(1)(c)

13.1 Problem

Section 3(5) of the Sales Tax Act, 1990, has subjected 2% extra tax on all items which have been excluded from the Third Schedule vide SRO 895(1)/2013 dated October 04, 2013. For this purpose, amendments have been made in Chapter XII of the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2007.

Such specified goods are subjected to extra tax@ 2% in addition to 17% sales tax is not allowed as input sales tax under Section 8{1){c) of the STA, which results in increase in cost of doing business specifically for the manufacturers consuming such goods as industrial input.

13.2 Recommendation

That extra tax should not be levied or collected on sale of specified goods to industrial sector or persons holding the status of a ‘Manufacturer’ . Through the Sales Tax General Order 27 of 2014, the FBR has exempted the supply of parts and accessories to the automobile manufacturers from the levy of extra tax. Further,through S.R.O 583(1)/2017 dated July 1, 2017, supply of lubricating oils to OMCs and from OMCs to registered manufacturers is not subject to extra tax. However, other manufacturers have not been granted similar exemption.

For this purpose the following amendments are being proposed In Section 8(1}(c) of the STA.

The existing provision should be modified as follows:-

“The goods, other than those supplied to registered manufacturer, under sub-section (S) of section 3.”

Secondly, amendment is also suggested in Rule 58S as follows:-

“The provisions of this Chapter shall apply to supplies of goods, other than supplies made to registered manufacturer, specified in the following Table, hereinafter referred to in this Chapter as” the specified goods.”

13.3    Rationale

The proposed amendment seeks to reduce the cost of doing business.

14.    Inadmissible Input Tax -Section 73

14.1 Problem

In case of payment not made by the buyer within 180 days, his corresponding input tax becomes inadmissible to the supplier. It appears to be an irrational proposition for the government to impose such restriction particularly if same parties made purchases/sales from each other.

Also Read: Growth in FBR revenues

Moreover, the above procedure are not in accordance with the concept provided under the VAT laws applicable globally.

14.2    Recommendation

It is recommended that in line with Income Tax Circular No. 1of 2009, credit on payments made through adjustments of Receivable against Payable should be treated as payment for the purposes of Section 73 of the STA.

14.3 Rationale

To accommodate payments terms and conditions based on industry practices and business
norms. In today’s environment, it is common that purchases and sales are being made from/to same party. Hence ledger adjustment should be allowed so that taxpayer does not have to go ~rough hassle of actual payments.

15.   Issuance of detailed SOP for Condonation of Time Limit- Section 74

15.1 Problem

In terms of Section 74 of the STA, the Board and the Commissio ner is allowed to condone the time where any timeline has been prescribed under any provision of the law. However, e-FBR

web portal does not allow adjustment of purchase invoice or debit I credit notes where manual condonation has been granted by the Board or the Commissioner, as the case may be.

Further, the Board quite often rejects condonation applications even in cases where clear and specific report has been furnished by the field formations quoting hardship factors  in the application.

15.2 Recommendation

PTBA suggest that a detailed mechanism may please be laid down by the Board regarding condonation cases to avoid malpractices and blatant misuse of powers.

15.3 Rationale

To avoid wastage of time, energy and cost of the affected taxpayer .

16. Avoidance of Multiple Audits- Sections 25 And 38

16.1 Problem

Section 25 and Section 38 of the STA empowers tax authorities to conduct sales tax Audit I Investigation. In terms of Section 25 of the STA an audit of a registered person may be conducted once in a year. On the other hand, Section 38 of the STA empowers the tax department to conduct investigation of registered persons without any time limitation and allied framework .

16.2 Recommendation

No audit may be initiated unless specific scope, guidelines and mechanism of Investigation is available in the law. Likewise, if detailed investigation of a registered person has already been conducted under Section 38 of the STA there should be no need to conduct audit of that person under Section 25 of the STA again or vice versa.

16.3 Rationale

Taxpayers would be able to save their time and energy.

17. Enhancement of Threshold of Utility Bills For Cottage Industry- Section 2(5AB)

17.1 Problem

Exemption threshold for a cottage industry, turnover of Rs. 10 Million with threshold for utility bills being Rs.0.8 Million, is outdated concept in view of consistent inflation, devaluation of Pakistani Rupee and increasing trend of cost of doing business. The high inflation and increasing cost of utility is now becoming unbearable.

17.2 Recommendation

Although limit for utility bills was enhanced from 0.7 million to 0.8 million, through the Finance Act, 2015, and the limit for turnover was enhanced from Rs. 5 million to 10 million through the Finance Act, 2016, the Bar feels that it is still at lower side. The Bar suggests that these limits should be further increased appropriately in order to counter the increase in inflation and utilities tariff and devaluation of currency.

17.3 Rationale

The proposal aims to promote the cottage industries /SME(s).

18 .    Rationalization of Definition of Time of Supply- Section 2(44)

18.1 Problem

The definition of “Time of Supply” as amended through the Finance Act, 2013; whereby receipt of any advance is subject to sales tax, which has created number of practical problems. Keeping in view the genuine problems of the registered person, sales tax on advance receipts was earlier withdrawn by the Finance Act, 2007.

Moreover ‘Hire    purchase’    transaction    involves    periodical installments received/earned over a period of time. Currently, Sales Tax is being charged on full amount at the time of signing (entered into) of hire purchase agreement. The registered person is burdened with increased amount of output tax on hire purchase sale at the time of sale, although the amount is received from the customers in installments.

The registered persons besides other practical issues has to undertake a tremendous exercise of reconciliation between the books of account (when sale is recorded on the basis of delivery of goods) with the sales tax returns. Furthermore, this also leads to discrepancies in CREST resulting in hardships to taxpayers as well as to the department.

18.2 Recommendations

  1. PTBA therefore proposes for the withdrawal of the amendment made through the Finance Act,
  2. Moreover, in respect of “Higher purchase agreement” (HP) definition of ‘Time of Supply’ may be amended and tax should not be levied at the time of signing of HP arrangement. Instead, tax should be levied at the time when installment is effected I paid. Further, the element of interest embedded in such installment should also be excluded for assessment of sales tax.

18.3 Rationale

To avoid unnecessary hassle for taxpayers as well as for the department; as charging of sales tax on advance receipts will not create any additional revenue for the Government.

Charging sales tax on full amount at the signing of hire purchase agreement is not justified and is in conflict with the definition of value of supply which states that it is the consideration which the supplier receives from the recipient for the supply.

19.      Refund of Unadjusted/Excess Input Tax (not relating to zero-rated suppliers)

19.1 Problem

Unadjusted input tax has to be carried forward for consecutive twelve months period before it can be claimed as refund by filing a refund application. Moreover, Sales Tax Rules, 2006 prohibits refund to commercial importers. New businesses who have paid input tax especially on acquisition of plant & machinery and have not started production or the production is very minimum or in trial phase are unable to claim input tax.

In cases, where there is a change in rate of sales tax on particular goods, then there may be situation where imports were made at higher sales tax rate but sold in local market at lower sales tax rate due to change in sales tax rate. There is no mechanism in the law to claim refund by commercial importers in case of change in sales tax rate during the period when goods are imported and the time when goods are supplied.

Moreover, it is against the principle of justice and equity that a taxpayer is allowed to claim the refund of unadjusted input tax in the respective month. The registered person has to wait for the period of consecutive twelve months.

19.2 Recommendations

  1. The time limit of twelve months for carry forward of excess input tax should be abolished or alternatively it may please be reduced to three months.
  2. Proper procedure should be prescribed in the law for claim of refunds by commercial importers due the change in rate of sales

19.3 Rationale

This will facilitate registered persons and provide relief to the genuine taxpayers.

20. Introduction of Appeal Effect Provisions and Consequential Relief

20.1 Problem

Under the Sales Tax Act, 1990, there is no provision for appeal effect, and consequently, none for relief in case of reduction of tax demand at appellate stage. This is creating hardship for bona fide taxpayers and causing multiple litigations.

Moreover, due to the non-availability of the provision for the described situation under the sales tax statute, the issues are not attaining finality .

20.2 Recommendation

It is proposed that relevant provisions for appeal effect and consequential relief, as provided under the IT Ordinance, should be introduced in the STA.

20.3 Rationale

The changes may provide relief to the taxpayer and will be in accordance with the principles of natural justice and fair play.

21. Allow-ability of adjustment of Sales Tax Refund with Income Tax Liability

21.1 Problem

It has been seen that on a number of occasions registered person’s funds are stuck with the Inland Revenue in the form of sales tax refund and at the same time the taxpayer is required to pay income tax at the time of assessment of his income tax liability. Resultantly, the taxpayer has to bear the burden of making payment of income tax liability, whereas his own money is lying idly with the department.

Board vide letter C.No. 3{70)STM/99 dated 20th December 1999 has already devised a procedure of inter-tax refund I adjustment; but both sales tax and income tax department are not following the above said procedure for the reason best known to them.

21.2 Recommendation

It is proposed that board’s aforesaid letter contains the procedure of adjustment be made part of law.

21.3 Rationale

Adjustment of refunds and tax liabilities may flow easily.

22. Deliberation should be made with the stake holders before final issuance of Notification and Implementation thereof

22.1 Problem
As per section 237(3) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, the draft SROs are issued for
comments by the stakeholders. No such provisions are available in any Federal and Provincial Indirect taxes laws.

SRO uploaded on website are immediately made applicable from the same day or even in some cases yesterday, which is against the judgment of the Honourable Supreme Court viz. “I wish that the law making body shall frame the laws after deliberations which is an additional duty cast upon the law making body in terms of the Article 2-A of the Constitution. The same is in accordance with the Injunctions of Islam and Doctrine of Expectation of Consultations”
(Hon’ble Justice Chaudhry ljazAhmed).

22.2 Recommendation
It is suggested that provisions about publication of draft SROs for deliberation be inserted in Federal and Provincial Indirect Tax laws and Final SRO be made applicable prospectively.

22.3 Rationale
It will reduce litigation and the Pakistan Laws will be made in accordance with the best
international practice.
As we all are fully aware of the fact that Pakistan is amongst few countries in the world which has the potential to achieve great heights; as by the Grace of Almighty Allah it is richly endowed with wealth , manpower, intellect and beauty. We are also of the firm believe that there is a lot of potential in our country to generate more revenues to improve the condition of ordinary citizen of Pakistan.

We are hopeful that on implementation of above proposals, their will be Broadening of tax base, simplification of laws; diminishing of cost of doing business and growth of industrialization. We wouldbe grateful if your goodself would kindly consider our above proposals and oblige.

We the members of PTBA assure you our fullest support for all your endavours to achieve the goals set. We on our side will leave no stone unturned to ensure that desired goals of present government are achieved in a befitting manner .

It would be our pleasure and honour to present the above PTBA proposals in person at any time of your convenience. Let us together make Pakistan a better, prosperous and stronger Country!

(This news/article originally appeared in Return News on September 17th, 2018)

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