The Revenue and Reform Mobilization Commission (RRMC) has proposed a simplified sales tax return system to bolster compliance among taxpayers.
In its proposals for budget 2023-2024, the commission, which was constituted by Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, identified the existing sales tax return form as lengthy, complex, and burdened with unnecessary details.
To address these concerns, the RRMC recommends the implementation of separate sales tax return forms tailored to specific categories of businesses. This streamlined approach aims to simplify the filing process, improve compliance rates, and particularly encourage small taxpayers to fulfill their obligations. By reducing complexity and eliminating irrelevant sections, the proposed changes seek to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax system.
1. Separate Sales Tax Return Forms: The RRMC proposes the introduction of distinct sales tax return forms for different categories of businesses. This includes manufacturers and exporters, commercial importers, as well as retailers, wholesalers, dealers, and distributors. Each form will focus on capturing only the relevant information pertaining to the specific nature of the taxpayer’s business.
2. Tailored Forms Based on Taxpayer Profile: To further streamline the filing process, the suggested sales tax return forms should be linked to each taxpayer’s profile. This linkage will enable the enabling/disabling of relevant fields and annexures, ensuring that only applicable sections are presented to taxpayers. This customization will help simplify the process and prevent confusion arising from unnecessary information.
3. Encouraging Small Taxpayers: The simplified sales tax return system aims to incentivize small taxpayers who often face challenges due to the complexity of the current filing process. By removing irrelevant annexures, such as Annex-E, Annex-H, Annex-K, and Annex-J, which are not required for commercial importers, the proposed changes will alleviate the burden on these taxpayers. Consequently, the streamlined system will encourage more small taxpayers to fulfill their sales tax obligations, ultimately increasing the number of filers.
Benefits of Simplification:
1. Improved Compliance: Simplifying the sales tax return process will enhance compliance rates among taxpayers. By presenting only relevant information and eliminating unnecessary complexities, businesses will find it easier to fulfill their tax obligations accurately and in a timely manner.
2. Increased Filing Participation: The proposed changes will specifically benefit small taxpayers who have been deterred by the current complex system. By reducing the barriers to entry and ensuring a more user-friendly experience, the simplified sales tax return system will encourage more businesses to participate in the tax filing process.
Conclusion: The RRMC’s recommendations for a simplified sales tax return system in Pakistan offer a promising solution to enhance compliance and promote greater participation among taxpayers. By implementing separate forms tailored to specific categories of businesses and streamlining the filing process based on individual taxpayer profiles, the proposed changes aim to simplify the system and encourage small taxpayers to fulfill their tax obligations. These measures will contribute to increased compliance rates, a more efficient tax system, and ultimately, the growth and development of Pakistan’s economy.