APTMA demands restoring controversial SRO for sales tax refunds

APTMA demands restoring controversial SRO for sales tax refunds

KARACHI: All Pakistan Textile Mills (APTMA) has demanded the tax authorities to restore a very controversial SRO for settlement the issue of sales tax refunds.

The textile millers demanded the FBR to restore SRO 1125(I)/2011 i.e. zero rating for the textile value chain to enable the industry to survive and maintain export momentum.

Gohar Ejaz, Patron In Chief, APTMA, in a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, apprised about an important matter, which resulted in a massive loss of exports as well as significant increase in unemployment.

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“Approximately 60 per cent of the industry has closed or is on the verge of closure primarily due to an extreme liquidity crunch.”

He said that the association had held a series of meetings with the ministry of finance and the ministry of commerce and the FBR starting June 2022 wherein the restoration of SRO 1125 (zero rating) was discussed.

“We request the government to restore 1125 i.e. zero rating for the textile value chain to enable the industry to survive and maintain export momentum in these extremely difficult circumstances,” he added.

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Sources in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said that the SRO 1125 was rescinded after reports of mega fraud cases by misusing the notification by various quarters.

The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) in a suo moto case in May 2019 directed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct audit of all manufacturers who availed the benefit of SRO 1125(I)/2011.

The FTO observed that the review of sales tax registration rules and risk score weightage assigned to the risk parameters employed in the registration process which lead to misuse of ‘manufacturer’ status by registered persons for the purpose of tax evasion.

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The FTO further observed that the FBR vide SRO 494 (I)/2015 dated June 30, 2015 showed that the IRIS based Sales Tax Registration module failed to timely incorporate the provisions of revised registration rules.

“The requisite changes in IRIS were incorporated after nine months vide SRO 227(I)/2016 dated March 21, 2016.”

The FTO observed that the FBR had failed to take timely action in integrating the registration modules in IRIS system thereby providing opportunity to the unscrupulous elements to take advantage of the weaknesses in the registration procedure of the sales tax department.

“Moreover, modification in the registration module was carried out after nine months of the revision of sales tax registration rules, but evidently no exercise was carried out by the field formation to verify that the existing manufacturers were registered in conformity with the provisions of revised rules.”

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The FBR through Circular No. 01 of 2019 dated July 26, 2019 explained that SRO 1125(I)/2011 dated 31.12.2011, relating to zero-rating of five export-oriented sectors, has been rescinded since July 01, 2019 vide rescinding SRO 694(I)/2019 dated 29.06.2019.

From July 01, 2019, the items listed in the said SRO shall be charged to sales tax at 17 per cent at import and local supply. Only in case of integrated retail outlets, sales tax on finished textile and leather item shall be charged at 14 per cent.

All STGOs granting zero-rating on supply of electricity, gas, diesel, furnace oil and coal have been rescinded vide STGO 100/2019 dated 29.06.2019. In order to resolve the issue of increased sales tax refunds of exporters due to withdrawal of zero-rating on inputs, the scope of Expeditious Refund System is proposed to be extended with automated payment on generated RPOs.