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Import of edible oils: Customs blows the lid off huge tax evasion

Import of edible oils: Customs blows the lid off huge tax evasion

KARACHI: Pakistan Customs has blew the lid off of a tax evasion scam in the import of edible oils, causing a huge loss of almost Rs90 million to the national exchequer, it has been learnt reliably.

The authorities claimed to have unearthed some cases whereby the national kitty has been deprived of huge tax money on the import of edible oils.

Sources in Pakistan Customs revealed that the authorities had detected cases including leading cooking oil and ghee manufactures, had not been paying federal excise duty (FED), sales tax and withholding income tax by taking the advantage of similar HS code in Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT).

They pointed out that Customs Department, after a thorough probe, concluded that almost Rs90 million were being evaded by about 73 companies in the import of edible oils. Through sleight of hand these companies exploited PCT code to evade the tax, they elaborated on, adding that there were two types of edible oils being imported for cooking oil and soap, chemicals and both the products had the same PCT code but with FED exemptions on the import of non-food grade oil and sales tax exemption on food grade oil.

The disclosure prompted the Customs R&D Section scrutiny of imports of the past five years including the data of WeBOC and defunct PaCCS.

The sources said that the scrutiny helped detected that 73 companies including leading multinational companies had been involved in the tax evasion. The authorities have issued notices to the companies in this regard besides the recovery of Rs19 million from eight companies involved in marketing and manufacturing of food products.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Customs is also calculating default surcharges, fines and penalties on the evaded amount.