ICCI calls for withdrawal of professional tax notices to businesses



ISLAMABAD, DEC 29 – Fatima Azim, Acting President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) said that Union Council Humak has issued professional tax notices of Rs.50,000 each to some industries in Kahuta Industrial Triangle, Islamabad which has created lot of concerns in the business community and called for their urgent withdrawal to save businesses from unnecessary tax burdens. She said that due to Covid-19 pandemic, business activities were already suffering badly and in such conditions, imposing professional tax on the businesses will create additional difficulties for the economy, therefore, she demanded immediate withdrawal of professional tax notices to save the economy from more problems.

Fatma Azim said the current situation demanded that the government should focus on providing tax relief to the business community instead of imposing new taxes on them so that business activities could be revived and the economy could improve. She said that to combat the impact of coronavirus, governments around the world had provided various relief packages to the businesses, but in Pakistan, instead of announcing relief measures, new taxes were being imposed on the businesses that will increase their problems and discourage new investment in the country. She stressed that instead of levying new taxes on businesses, the government should provide them relief in taxes.

Abdul Rehman Khan, Vice President, ICCI said that the FBR has started to withdraw cash from the bank accounts of business community under Section 140 of the Income Tax Ordinance without consent of concerned taxpayers, which was a matter of great concern for them. He said that there was a method of inquiry in the law, but giving notices to taxpayers after withdrawal of cash from their bank accounts was unjustified. He demanded that the FBR should immediately stop this practice to save the businesses from unnecessary problems as it would neither increase the tax net nor meet the tax targets.

Abdul Rehman Khan said that the former FBR Chairman Shabar Zaidi had stopped raids on businesses and withdrawal of cash from their bank accounts to save them from unnecessary troubles. However, the FBR has again resumed this unhealthy practice, which was creating harassment in the business community. He said that once cash was withdrawn from one’s bank account, it was very difficult to get it back even if the decision was given in favour of the concerned taxpayer. He said that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the relevant area should be consulted before taking any such action against any business so that such issues could be resolved through mutual efforts. He appealed to the Federal Minister for Finance Hafeez Sheikh to instruct FBR to immediately stop withdrawing cash from the bank accounts of the business community so that they could focus on promoting business activities with confidence which would help in reviving the economy of the country as well.