The government and traders reached an agreement, under which the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) delayed the condition of CNIC for sales and purchase of goods till January 31, 2020, hence putting an end to the shutter-down strike the traders had been observing for a second consecutive day on Wednesday.
According to the agreement, the government would not take disciplinary action against traders who do not buy and sell goods on the basis of their CNIC till January 31 of next year. It is agreed that the trader having a turnover of Rs 100 million would now pay only 0.5 percent turnover tax instead of 1.5 percent whereas for sales tax registration, the limit has been enhanced from the Rs 0.6 million annual electricity bill to Rs 1.2 million.
The agreement read that with the consultation of traders, the government would reassess turnover tax for the low-profit business sectors while the issues of jewelers would be resolved on a priority basis with close coordination of the jeweler’s associations. According to the agreement, the withholding tax imposed on the license renewal fees for brokers would also be reviewed.
For the resolution of traders issues, a special desk would be established at FBR where an officer of Grade 20 or 21 would be appointed who would hold meetings with traders representatives on a monthly basis. The government would also prepare a simple registration and income tax return filing form in Urdu language, it said, adding that the trader committees would cooperate with the government in new registrations.
According to the agreement, a shop covering one thousand square feet would be exempted from sales tax registration, and any decision to this effect would be taken in consultation with the traders. The decision to register retailers, involved wholesale business, will be taken with consultation of the trader committee.
Addressing a press conference after reaching the agreement, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, who was accompanied by FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi and representative of traders Khawaja Muhammad Shafeek, said that the government wanted to facilitate traders and promote business activities in the country.
The adviser said that facilitating and involving traders in economic activities was imperative for achieving the economic goals and promoting growth and development. He said that the government wanted to impose due taxes and eradicate corruption and this ultimately would be beneficial for traders themselves. He said taxes are being imposed to support downtrodden segments of society.
He lamented that there were around four million traders but only 0.393 million are paying taxes. He said that bringing the tax evaders into the tax net is a priority of the government. Speaking on the occasion, business leader Khawaja Shafeek said that the traders are willing to pay taxes, however, they faced some issues which needed to be resolved.