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Fake SRO used to claim sales tax exemption

ISLAMABAD (December 25 2005): Some businessmen have tried to claim exemption of sales tax/customs by presenting fake 'Statutory Regulatory Order' (SRO) or 'exemption order' to the concerned collectorates, it is learnt.

It has been brought to the notice of Central Board of Revenue (CBR) that bogus SRO was deliberately presented to two different collectorates for clearance of duties/taxes-free consignment, which was actually liable to duties and taxes.

The issue came to light when two collectorates sought verification on a sketchy SRO from the CBR to ascertain whether notification had been issued or not, as these 'notifications' reached the concerned collectorates before the usual time. Same 'notification' was twice presented before different regional offices for clearance of the same item.

The Board confirmed to the collectors that the CBR had not issued any SRO on which exemption could be claimed.

Meanwhile, official sources told Business Recorder that CBR has taken certain precautionary measures to foil such attempts in future.

In this connection, the CBR will issue instructions to all collectors of sales tax and customs to ensure verification of authenticity of export documents. The collectors should verify the SROs from CBR official website or verify the 'notification' from the Board.

The CBR will ensure that all SROs should be timely placed on the website so that the collectors did not find any difficulty in verification of SROs/export documents etc.

They said that the instructions would be dispatched to all collectors of customs as well as sales tax for verification of SROs from the website. The regional offices would also become vigilant following this directive to collectorates.

When this correspondent contacted different CBR officials, none of them was ready to give details about the case pertaining to fake SROs. However, they admitted that the instructions would be issued to field formations for verification of SROs through CBR website.

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