After facing objections from merchants regarding the tax collection through electricity bills and requests from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced the certain measures to please small retailers.
“The Prime Minister also called me and asked me to make sure that small businesses are completely satisfied with the new tax law. That is what I will do tomorrow,” the minister tweeted.
The finance minister has said that to address the concerns of small retailers, the government ‘will exempt shops with a bill of less than 150 units from tax.
“We will charge Rs 3,000 even for traders who are not registered with the Federal Revenue Board (FBR). Tax paid will be full and final. The finance minister tweeted.
Ismail responded to a tweet from PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif asking him to ‘remove taxes from electricity bills’ amid concerns and complaints from businessmen.
Immediately after the tweet, Maryam said she spoke with the finance minister, who assured her he would sit down with traders tomorrow (Monday) and find a solution.
Small retailers to be taxed via electricity bills
The government in the budget for the current fiscal year had decided to deduct tax through electricity bills from small shopkeepers or retailers across the country to bring the sector under the tax net.
The budget document showed that fixed income and sales tax regimes of Rs3,000 to Rs10,000 has been imposed on the small retailers to bring them into the tax net.
However, traders across the country have staged protests and refused to pay the tax.
Earlier this week, the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran and Traders Action Committee Islamabad rejected fixed sales tax on electricity bills and demanded its withdrawal.
Ajmal Baloch, the president of the All Pakistan Anjuman Tajran and Traders Action Committee, Islamabad, in a press conference on Thursday, along with officials from all markets in the federal capital, demanded removal of Ismail and said: “No electricity bills containing fixed sales tax would be paid, and if Wapda or any power supply company tried to remove the electricity meter, traders would launch a protest movement.”
He said in the budget document, that the income tax for non-filers was to be applied from Rs3,000 to Rs10,000 per annum, while in the Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs), it was made monthly instead of annual, which was a bad thing on the part of the finance minister.
Baloch said Ismail “lied on the floor of the conference that he was not only dismissed but expelled”.