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ISLAMABAD: The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has accused the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of discrimination against those business entities whose refunds are over Rs50 million.

The issue of discrimination was raised by Secretary General OICCI Abdul Aleem in a letter to Chairman FBR Dr Ashfaq Ahmed. The purpose of the letter was to seek support of Chairman FBR in resolving these operational issues to provide ease of doing business to large taxpayers.

According to OICCI, its members regularly review and provide constructive feedback on the operational and policy issues facing foreign investors. In a recent meeting of OICCI, tax experts highlighted procedural and operational issues that were related to inconsistent implementation or execution of rules or policies.

OICCI argued that corporations are unable to claim debit/credit note adjustment against supplies to those unregistered in sales tax. This is specifically relevant for business making supplies to end users. After enactment of Finance Act, 2021, reduction in value of supply requires manufacturers to claim adjustment of higher output sales tax paid in prior periods (including sales tax to unregistered customers’/end users) in the form of “credit notes” in their sales tax return. For clarity purposes, change in value supply may be due to various business reasons such as price reduction (including those due to reduction of rate of taxation and duties), cancellation of supply (buyer cancels the order after making initial supply), return of products (due to product damaged in transit or fault in product), etc.

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Commenting on pending Income and Sales Tax refunds specifically those of higher monetary value, OICCI said that it believes that it is unfair to issue refunds only to business entities whose refunds are up to Rs50 million and not to members whose refunds are over Rs50 million, adding that this is tantamount to penalizing business entities whose contribution to the exchequer is larger and more significant.

“We request fair treatment and issue of refunds to all taxpayers, irrespective of the pending refund being of a certain threshold,” Secretary General OICCI added.

OICCI cited the examples of M/s Siemens Pakistan, M/s Buyer Pakistan and M/s Archroma Pakistan that complained about their tax refund pending for a long period without settlement.

All OICCI members are MNCs that have various teams spread across the globe. Some companies also use VPNs as part of their global IT policies and protocols. OICCI is receiving concerns from MNCs that access to FBR portal is not available to their regional teams and in certain cases it is even halting their invoice processing.

“We recommend that a proper mechanism to grant access to identified global proxies/domains as legitimate exceptions be devised by FBR (for example Bayer Pakistan and AkzoNobel Pakistan),” said Aleem.

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