KARACHI: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been recommended to reduce the income tax rate for exploration and production (E&P) companies especially in wake of massive reduction in international oil prices.
Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) in its proposals for budget 2020/2021, said that higher corporate tax rate on exploration and production (E&P) sector should be reduced and aligned to the rate of other corporate sector.
The applicable tax rate for the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production sector is 40 percent. Before the promulgation of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, the tax rate was 50 percent to 55 percent, however, the royalty payment to the government was adjusted against the tax liability, resulting in effective tax rate of approximately 35 percent or less.
Applicability of effective 40% tax rate has in fact increased the tax expense of the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Companies, as against the incentives given to other sectors of the economy, whereby the tax rate will be gradually reduced to 30 percent.
The OICCI recommended:
i. To incentivize oil and gas exploration in the country especially after the massive reduction in the international oil prices, the corporate tax rate on E&P sector should be reduced from the current 40 percent to the rate applicable to other corporate sector by making necessary amendments in the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 and Regulation of Mines and Oilfield and Mineral Development (Government Control) Act, 1948.
The OICCI further said that the rate of tax applicable on E&P companies on their Oil & Gas profits are given in their respective PCAs signed with Government.
Under Rule 4AA of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to ITO 2001, Super tax has been imposed at 3 percent for E&P companies earning Rs 500 million (equivalent to US$ 5million).
The OICCI recommended:
i. It is critical for E&P sector and recommended that the tax applicable should be calculated strictly in accordance with the provisions of the respective PCAs signed between Government and each E&P company & are legally binding, without changes throughout the full Lease period.
Tax credits under section 65A and 65B are not currently being allowed to E&P companies by the tax authorities despite the fact that appellate Tribunal decided the matter in favor of E&P companies.
Therefore, the FBR should issue necessary clarification.
The OICCI highlighted issue of depletion allowance – under Rule 3 of part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.
Clarity over definition of well head value for computation of Depletion allowance is required.
As per clause 3 of Fifth Schedule, depletion is calculated at the rate of 15 percent of the gross receipts representing well-head value of production, but not exceeding 50 percent of taxable income.
E&P industry interprets above by calculating depletion at 15 percent of Gross Revenue before royalty deduction. Tax authorities calculate depletion at 15 percent of Gross Revenue after deduction of royalty.
Therefore, it is recommended:
Amendment should be introduced in the relevant clause in favor of E&P companies for depletion to be calculated at the rate of 15 percent of revenues before royalty deduction.
Under the sales law the rate of sales tax is 17 percent. In case of Independent Power Producers (IPP’s), they are required to pay Output sales tax (GST-Output) at 17 percent on the value of sale of electricity after adjusting the Input sales tax (GST-Input) on Residual Fuel Oil (RFO) paid by them to PSO. Currently the GST-Input rate is 20%. This is resulting in significant adverse cash flow for IPPs as well as is increasing the refund due from FBR.
Therefore, it is recommended that the rate on electricity should be raised from 17 percent to 20 percent as has been done in the case of diesel based IPPs, so that input and output GST rates are same.