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Govt should dump Maersk Pakistan over sale tax evasion: Advocate Mohib Kaka Khail

PESHAWAR: Mega scam of sale tax evasion worth billions by M/s Maersk Pakistan should be recovered and business of the company be stopped.

This was said by Advocate Saifullah Mohib Kaka Khail while talking to Customs Today. He said that Customs Today dug out mega sales tax scam of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, which was also verified by Sindh Revenue Board (SRB).

According to detail, Sindh Revenue Board said it will recover evaded sales tax from the company as it provided $149.407 billion (around Rs20,170 billion) worth of services to international clients during the last six years after completion of audit.

M/s Maersk Pakistan from year 2011 evaded sales tax which if recovered at 100 percent rate after the audit will become more than the IMF loans to Pakistan.

Advocate Saifullah further said that tax evasion has been much easier than tax recovery by looking into mega sales tax evasion by M/S Maersk Pakistan. Such tax evasion is not only causing financial loss to exchequer but also discouraging the habit of doing genuine business.

He said the sale tax evasion is multiple sanctions crime as it’s not only fraud done with the State but also with the community for violating the rules of business.

In recent times, a businessman who owns tobacco stores in Illinois, US was sentenced to 76 months in prison and was ordered to pay $4.8 million, the advocate cited.

It is pertinent to mention here that talking exclusively with Customs Today, Commissioner Operations Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) Mohammad Amir said that the Board will definitely issue a show cause notice to Maersk Pakistan after completion of audit. It is a common practice that the Board cancels license of tax evading companies as it has already cancelled licenses of 84 companies after completing all legal formalities. If a company does not pay sales tax after issuance of notice, then the Board starts process to cancel its license.

He said Maersk Line earned $24299 million in 2017 and paid Rs76.67 million sales tax to other governments which compelled the SRB to conduct audit of the company in Pakistan. Maersk shipping company posted business of $27117 million in year 2012, $26196 million in 2013, $27351 million in 2014, $23729 million in 2015, $20715 million in 2016 and earned $24299 million in year 2017 and the company paid Rs76.67 million tax in last fiscal year.

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