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Rasheed Khalid

The News

Published Date: Mar 5, 2015

SDPI Consultation Authorities urged to make tax forms simple

 

Islamabad

 

The
tax authorities came under criticism at ‘Consultation on National Tax’
for complicating tax forms which forces businesspersons to engage
lawyers or retired tax officials as consultants to complete tax
formalities.

The consultation was arranged by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday.

Abdullah
Yusuf, former chairman of the FBR, said that indirect taxation should
be reformed so as not to be repressive for the poor. He said that we are
having 60 per cent indirect and 40 pc direct tax ratio which needs to
be reversed. He said that the bulk of poor man’s expenditure is on food
items which have indirect taxation. He proposed uniform GST on all
items. He said that preventive tax regime (withholding tax) is for
generating income promptly. He called it adhocism.

He said
our tax base is narrow. There are 87% taxes and are difficult to file.
He said that retired tax officials are consultant and there is conflict
of interest that prevents easy filing of taxes and there is heavy
reliance on trade — related taxes like on oil. He said that there is no
tax on agriculture which is discriminatory. He said the Federal
Government should persuade provinces to implement agriculture and
separate tax formulation and tax collection. He wondered how a collector
can hear your appeal against himself. Tax adjudication system should be
independent, he concluded.

Dr Akmal Hussain from FC
College University, said that social protection is necessary for growth.
Bismarck in Germany and Euro-socialism in Scandinavia used social
protection for long-term growth, he said adding that low GDP cannot be a
reason not to provide social protection. He called for equality in the
country.

Masood Naqvi, chairperson, Tax Reform Commission,
said that the commission was formed by Ministry of Finance. He said
that various recommendations were given since 1948 but the problem is
the process picking this or that recommendation and leaving others aside
and even those were not enforced. Enforce the laws and the revenue will
double, he vowed. He said that FBR contribution in tax collection is
minimum. He said that 64 tax payers have one tax collector in Pakistan.

Shaban
Khalid, former chairperson of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and
Industry said that tax rebate is not given in time. He said that
business should not be subjected to harassment. He said that even input
invoices are not genuine. He said that tax amnesty scheme should not be
there.

Former Commerce Minister Dr Hafeez Pasha who
chaired the session said that banking system gives 80 per cent loans to
one per cent businesspersons. He regretted that no one from FBR liked to
turn up in the function despite requests. He said that there is a
history of failure in tax collection. He said that our state has been
made hostage by elite.

Just 6 per cent growth rate is a
shame. He said that equality cannot come unless elites are ready for
reform. He said that sales tax returns has no audit.

Dr
Abid Suleri, executive director, SDPI, said that there is a need to have
apolitical, free and evidence-based discussion on economic issues.
Hence, he said, his institute started consultations three months before
budget so that the recommendations could be presented in concrete form
in time. For improving tax to GDP ratio we don’t require new policies
but to have an assessment on why existing policies are not working and
avoiding those mistakes in future.

Zakiya Hashmi,
president, Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce, said that tax policies
should take into account women, poor, small farmers and entrepreneurs.
She said that we cannot make progress without having Islamic banking
system as there will not be “barkat.”

Dr Waqar Ahmad, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI, Dr Ashfaque Hassan from NUST also spoke on the occasion.

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-305074-Authorities-urged-to-make-tax-forms-simple