Rs 21 b sales tax refund claims cleared: Dar

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 14 (APP): Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad
Ishaq Dar Monday said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had cleared
sales tax refund claims of Rs 21 billion which would be electronically transferred in the accounts of tax payers within next 24 hours.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of ‘direct electronic credit of sales tax refund system’, he said total Rs 25 billion refund claims were pending from June 2015 to June 30, 2016. Claims for Rs 21 billion had been processed while those of about Rs 3.5 billion would be transferred in the accounts of respective tax payers within a week by addressing all the issues and modalities, he added.
The direct electronic credit refund method has been developed by the FBR in collaboration of the State Bank of Pakistan.
The minister said the new refund payment system would bring transparency by minimizing direct human interactions. It would also save the time of tax payers, besides strengthening the FBR by improving its governance structure, he added.
He said Rs 22 billion refund claims were also cleared in August as the prime minister had announced to clear all refunds by October.
The minister said in 2013, the government had inherited pending refunds of Rs 211 billion and it had committed to clear all the refund claims within minimum time, besides zero rating for five export sectors.
The government, he said, was taking several steps for institutional reforms in order to improve the governance system and bring transparency and sustainabaility.
He said the government had introduced Companies Ordinance 2016, which had replaced the 32-year old law and empower the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to find out offshore tax havens.
The minister said the government would address all the issues of real estate sector and they would be facilitated by bridging the gap between documented and undocumented economies.
Speaking on the occasion, FBR Chairman Nisar Muhammad Khan said as per the prime minister’s announcement, sales tax refund claims of Rs 22 billion were paid earlier. Now Rs 21 billion was being refunded through the newly devised mechanism for which the FBR team deserved appreciation.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan said the government had fulfilled its promise of paying tax refund claims and zero rating.
President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rauf Alam appreciated the government’s pro-business policies and urged the need for providing a conducive environment to flourish local businesses.
He said the introduction of electronic credit system would restore the confidence of local business community and called upon the businessmen and traders to pay their taxes honestly for the country’s uplift.