Foreign firms claim Rs46 billion in refunds

KARACHI: Foreign investors have demanded of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to release refunds worth Rs46 billion stuck for a long period and causing cash flow and profitability problems.


Sources on Thursday said that in a joint meeting between officials of FBR and Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), held last week, the members of the chamber had raised the issue of delayed refunds.


The OICCI’s members informed the FBR team that the refund process was needed to be made more efficient and time-bound. They said that massive stuck amount was leading to cash flow and profitability issues.


They presented details of refunds belonging to the tax years 2008 to 2013. Of Rs46.09 billion outstanding claims of income and sales tax, the FBR had verified about Rs33.72 billion for issuance of refunds, while the remaining amount of Rs11.72 billion was under process.


Majority of the members of OICCI are registered with the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) Karachi.


The FBR team said that the refunds process had already been started and asked the chamber for cooperation and patience as the refunds would be paid in installments in a transparent and equitable manner.


Heads of LTU and Regional Tax Office (RTO) Karachi and chief Collector Appraisement Pakistan Customs represented the FBR in the meeting. OICCI representatives included Asif Saad from Lotte Chemical Pakistan Limited, Abdul Aleem, OICCI General Secretary, Aman Ghanchi from Unilever Pakistan Limited, and Moin Mohajir, deputy secretary general.


At the meeting, the OICCI members were concerned that the required notification to be issued by the FBR for adjustment of input general sales tax (GST) paid to Punjab Revenue Authority and Sindh Revenue Board had not been issued.


It was also discussed that provincial GST on toll manufacturing was in conflict with the Sales Tax Act 1990 and it should also be resolved.


The chamber demanded a review of minimum tax, urging companies with large turnovers and low margins should be fully exempted.


The FBR team informed that chairman FBR in his meeting with OICCI on September 3 had already given assurance for review in this regard, realising the hardship faced by taxpayers due to minimum tax.


The issue of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) was also discussed and OICCI advised the FBR that the misuse of ATT should be curbed and a model of other landlocked countries should be followed.


OICCI noted that brands should be registered with the customs authorities and the valuation should be done in consultation with the brand owner. The chamber said that mis-declaration of goods should be checked through strong enforcement and the movement of goods should be checked between tariff and nontariff areas.


The FBR team was urged that the foreign exchange regulations should be used to curb the unauthorised imports.


The FBR team responded that anti-smuggling drive was underway – which would help in resolving the issue.

Source: The NEWS