Pakistan introduces automated system for withholding tax payments

Pakistan introduces automated system for withholding tax payments

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has introduced an automated system for real-time payment for withholding tax. The system has been introduced through the Finance Act, 2022 by making amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the apex tax collecting agency of Pakistan, issued Income Tax Circular No. 15 of 2022/2023 to explain important amendments introduced through the Finance Act, 2022 to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

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The FBR said that currently, withholding agents are required to collect and deduct tax at the time of making payment and deposit the same in government treasury within the prescribed time period.

Similarly, withholding agents are required to file quarterly and annual withholding statements which consumes time and resources of taxpayers leading to increased compliance cost.

Moreover, certain large withholding tax agents like banks, DISCOs, TELCOs, Government institutions etc. are still depositing tax through a single payment receipt for multiple taxpayers.

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“In order to streamline withholding tax collection and deduction mechanism, enabling provision for the placement of a fully automated system by the name Synchronized Withholding Administration and Payment System (SWAPS) has been introduced under section 164A of the Ordinance,” the FBR said.

A withholding agent notified under section 164A will be called a SWAPS agent.

The notified SWAPS agent will be integrated with Board and withholding tax will be deposited in government treasury on real time basis simultaneously at the time of making third party payment processed through SWAPS by the SWAPS agent.

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It will also result in auto populated withholding statements thereby saving time and reducing cost of compliance for the business.

SWAPS Payment Receipt (SPR) will be generated upon deposit of tax in this manner which will be a valid document for the purpose of claiming credit against tax payable under the provisions of this Ordinance.

In case if a notified SWAPS agent fails to integrate with the Board in the manner prescribed, the said agent will not be eligible for credit under Part X of Chapter III of the Ordinance and exemption under any of the provisions of the Ordinance.

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All other provisions of the Ordinance not specifically dealt with in newly inserted section 164A will mutatis mutandis apply on a notified SWAPS agent.

Corresponding changes have been made in section 164 of the Ordinance.

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