KARACHI: The business community has urged the government of Sindh to introduce a one-window facility for tax collection in association with the federal government.

In a statement on Friday, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) presented recommendations to the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) Karachi Chairman Khalid Mahmood and demanded that entire revenue collection should be clubbed under one ministry

It suggested that the provincial government could establish an in-house mechanism by allocating the share of revenues of three collection bodies through intra-government fund transfers, which would be an important measure for improving the ease of doing business.

“There should be coordination between federal and provincial sales tax authorities as well as inter-provincial coordination,” it stressed.

“In this regard, they ought to form a policy board to ensure synchronisation of policies, standard tax rates, basis of apportionment of revenues and removal of all anomalies or conflicts between laws of different revenue boards.”

The chamber emphasised that there should be a single federal and provincial tax return form and consolidation of all taxes and levies.

“All provincial taxes should be consolidated into one including the labour levies such as the EOBI contribution and integration of tax data should be ensured at all levels through one tax return,” it said.

Regarding agricultural income tax, the chamber recommended that an income-based system should be put in place. It emphasised that the tax on income on landholding should be abolished and taxes should be collected on a net income basis.

The OICCI suggested that an adjustable withholding tax should be introduced in which advance tax should be charged on the sale of agricultural produce such as sugarcane, wheat and cotton, which should be adjustable against the income tax payable on net income basis.

“All persons holding land should obtain a provincial tax number (PTN) like the NTN maintained by the FBR,” the OICCI said.

The chamber underlined that the definition of agricultural income should be amended to include all agricultural activities like non-corporate dairy farming and poultry.

Rent income on the use of agricultural land should be subjected to the same rate of tax as charged on property income under the FBR system, said the investors’ chamber.

Tax authorities should use technology, data analytics including artificial intelligence tools and make effective utilisation of NADRA database and other documented sources to ensure that all income earners from services were included in the provincial taxpayers’ list, the OICCI suggested.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2020.

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