ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) constituted a committee to finalise a new income tax regime for traders, as the government and the traders remain poles apart over the key issue of disclosing their identity for trading purposes.
The 15-member committee has been directed to finalise a “fixed tax scheme for small traders/shopkeepers and simplified tax procedure for traders” by August 25, according to a notification issued by the FBR on Friday. The deadline appears challenging given the nature of differences between both the sides.
FBR’s Member Taxpayers Audit Nausheen Amjad will be the convener of the committee. She will be assisted by FBR member accounting, member income tax operations and member income tax policy.
There will be eight representatives of the traders. Naeem Mir from All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran, Malik Khalid of Qaumi Tajir Ittehad Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Mian of Pakistan Traders Alliance, Ashraf Bhatti of Anjuman-e-Tajran and Kashif Chaudhry of Tanzeem-e-Tajran, have been made members of the committee.
The FBR has not made Ajmal Baloch, President of President All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajraan – an alliance of the traders, a member of the committee.
The government has also included three eminent tax and legal experts in the committee. Ashfaq Tola – a chartered accountant and advocate Abid Shaban are also the members of the committee. Asim Zulfiqar who has remained a close associate of the FBR chairman has also been made member of the committee.
Through budget 2019-20, the government made it legally binding for the industrialists to seek CNIC from the wholesalers and distributors on sales of over Rs50,000. The move pitched the traders and small shopkeepers against the government.
The traders had given a strike call against the government’s decision from August 16 but the FBR last week announced to delay the enforcement of Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) condition on purchase of over Rs50,000 till end September to thwart the nationwide strike. The traders have out rightly rejected to accept the demand of sharing CNIC details.
The FBR has defined a small shopkeeper as an individual who carries out business at a premises having covered area of less than 300 square feet but does not include a shopkeeper if he is engaged as a jeweller, wholesaler, warehouse owner, real estate agent, builder and developer, doctor, lawyer, chartered accountant or any other category specified by the FBR.
But the traders have demanded that there shall be no condition of covered area and the electricity connection and everyone dealing in sales of goods and services should be treated as small traders. Against the FBR’s proposal, the traders have unanimously proposed that the scheme will be applicable for all traders including in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. They traders want that the scheme should also be applicable for traders dealing with all types of goods, services, small and medium enterprises and cottage industry.