Provinces reject FBR’s single tax portal MoU

ISLAMABAD: The provinces have rejected the draft of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) they had received from the Federal Board of Revenue about a single portal for filing tax returns and registration.

The revenue authorities of the four provinces have decided to prepare an amended draft of the MoU together and send it to the federal tax body.

A senior officer of the Punjab revenue authority told The Express Tribune that that the FBR had sent the MoU to the provinces asking them to sign it.

Sources said the revenue authorities of the four provinces exchanged views on the draft and decided to jointly prepare an amended version, which would be dent to the FBR.

Sindh Revenue Board officials said the amended draft would be send to the FBR by Monday.

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Mushtaq Kazmi, the SRB tax policy adviser, told The Express Tribune that the four provincial revenue authorities had no objections over signing the MoU, but the necessary preparations for its implementation should be made first.

The FBR had told the four provincial revenue authorities that it would present a demonstration on the web portal first, but sent the draft of the MoU instead.

A senior FBR officer said when Hammad Azhar was the state minister for revenue, the board and the provincial revenue authorities had agreed on the MoU and it had to be signed after being finalised through consultations.

The FBR held several meetings with the provincial revenue authorities a draft of the MoU was prepared and sent to the provinces.

The sources said FBR officials and the provincial revenue authorities held a meeting on July 11 this year.

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According to the sources, a single portal for filing tax returns is one of the major conditions under the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) $6 billion loan facility to Pakistan.

Not only will it facilitate the IMF reviewing the first quarter performance, but also improve ease of doing business and boost the country’s ranking.

The sources said the FBR would examine the amended draft received from the provincial revenue authorities hold a meeting to finalise it.

Presently, the FBR collects sales tax on goods while the provincial revenue authorities collect tax on services. The sales tax collected by the FBR is then shared with the provinces in line with the National Finance Commission formula. Consequently, taxpayers have to file five different returns.

With the single portal, all taxpayers will be able file their sales tax returns on goods and services through a single window.

The portal will let filers select their respective revenue board.

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