KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is expected to allow retail price tagging on imported goods after their clearance from ports as the exercise would save congestion and demurrage, sources said on Tuesday.
The sources said the trade representatives, in a meeting, apprised the FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi that printing of retail price within the limits of a port area was not possible as only authorised individuals were allowed within the limits. Even if such access is allowed the printing will take time and it will result in delay of consignment clearance and port congestion.
“The FBR chairman was convinced about an option to allow the printing of retail price after clearance of goods,” a source privy to the meeting said. “However, the importer will be responsible to ensure the printing post clearance in such an option.”
The sources said the FBR might allow post clearance printing of retail price on imported consumer items to facilitate the trade community. The sources in the FBR said the representatives of trade community discussed with its chief practical problems in printing of retail prices on the imported consumer items within the limits of port area.
Under the Finance Act 2019, the printing of retail price has been made mandatory for clearance of consumer items as specified in the Third Schedule of Sales Tax Act 1990.
The locally-manufactured goods specified in the Third Schedule are already chargeable to sales tax on the basis of retail price. “Now, through amendment in section 3(2)(a), retail price taxation has also been made applicable to imported goods,” an official at the FBR said.
The importers were required to print the retail price from July 1, 2019 and such goods were to be assessed on the basis of declared retail price and not on the basis of customs value under a section (25 of the Customs Act 1969).
Customs authorities were, however, asked to let the consignments cleared for the July without retail price stickers in view of difficulties traders might face at import stage. “However, clearance without printed retail price on the imported consumer items has been stopped from August 1, 2019,” the official said. Another issue regarding the printing of retail price surfaced in case of bulk imports, such as tea.
An important meeting was held at the Regional Tax Office (RTO-II) Karachi in this regard to resolve the issue. The RTO-II will soon send recommendations to the FBR. Khurram Ijaz, former chairman of Karachi Customs Agents Association said price tagging before clearance process is almost impossible. Presently, no container carrying consumer items is stuck on ports. “However, the problem of port congestion will surface in future if corrective steps are not taken,” he added.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on August 7th, 2019)