LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led Punjab government has expanded its tax base by bringing the insurance sector under the radar of Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA).
The PRA has been assigned the tax collection target of Rs155.57 billion with some additional services.
The provincial government presented the Finance Bill on Tuesday during the budget session for fiscal year 2018-19 and proposed amendments to the Punjab Sales Tax Act 2012 by bringing new services into the tax net. The government drastically slashed the tax on imported cars in the range of 50-80% for different engine capacities. The move was an effort to encourage motor vehicle users to get their cars registered in the province instead of Islamabad and other provinces.
Furthermore, the government proposed up to five-time increase in stamp duty on different agreements, which would generate almost Rs1 billion in taxes for the government. According to the amendments, the government proposed lower tax on imported cars with engine capacity exceeding 1,300cc but not exceeding 1,500cc at Rs15,000 from Rs70,000, on cars with engine capacity exceeding 1,500cc but not exceeding 2,000cc at Rs25,000 from Rs150,000, on cars with engine capacity exceeding 2,000cc but not exceeding 2,500cc at Rs100,000 from Rs200,000.
However, the government maintained the tax rate on motor cars with engine capacity exceeding 2,500cc at Rs300,000 as these vehicles are used by the elite and rich people.
According to the government, the operational experience gained by the PRA during the preceding financial year has necessitated the introduction of some procedural and technical amendments to the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012, which is intended to improve compliance with the law.
The technical amendments cover the issues of adding definitions of taxable services, delegating certain functions to the commissioner, updating appeal-related provisions, enhancing time of retention of record and recovery of short-paid tax from five to eight years and providing direct statutory backing to existing rules relating to electronic monitoring of taxable services and enforcement actions to preclude litigation.
Additionally, the Punjab government has also proposed enhancement in powers of the PRA for the seizure of businesses in case of violations including not installing, altering or avoiding the Restaurant Invoice Management System (RIMS). The government has also proposed electronic vigilance of different business premises by the PRA.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2018.