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Highlights of Sales Tax and Federal Excise Budgetary Measures 2006-07

Budget FY 2006-07 is aimed at simplification of tax system, improvement in resource mobilization, boosting economic activity to ensure robust economic growth, reducing the cost of doing business for trade & industry, reducing tax burden for lower income strata of the society and promoting a taxpayer friendly culture.

The following budgetary measures will add further to these objectives:

  • Relief for the taxpayers by providing concessions and rationalizing the Excise tariff, thereby creating a conducive and business friendly environment for the taxpayers.
  • Broadening of Tax Base by minimizing exemptions and bringing more services in the excise regime.
  • Simplification of tax laws to make them easier for the taxpayer and compatible with international best practices.
  • Removal of irritants and impediments in fiscal laws and procedures.
  • Reducing the cost of doing business by furthering the automation of business processes and minimizing taxpayer interface.
  • Improving tax compliance through better relationship between taxpayers and tax officials as well as by introducing stronger penalties for deliberate & repeated offences.

BRIEF POINTS ON INDIVIDUAL BUDGETARY MEASURES:

a) RELIEF MEASURES

Withdrawing excise duty on travel by train.

  • Travel by train in air-conditioned and first class sleeper is chargeable to excise duty @ 12.5%. Measure is aimed at providing relief to the general public.

Enforced through Notification SRO 562(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Zero-rating of sales tax on dairy products and stationery items:

  • Currently, dairy products including milk, desi ghee, whey, yogurt, etc enjoy sales tax exemption under the Sixth Schedule thereby sales tax paid on the inputs consumed in manufacture thereof is not adjustable. Thus, adding to the cost of dairy products.
  • Zero-rating of sales tax on dairy products would enable the manufacturers to offset the impact of tax paid on inputs and resultantly lower the cost of these products. Dried milk without addition of sugar or any other sweetener would continue to remain exempt.
  • Likewise, zero-rating of sales tax on stationery items like pens, lead pencils and children colours would reduce the cost of these items by taking off the burden of tax there-from without depriving the manufacturers of these items from the facility of input tax adjustment.

Enforced through Notification SRO 548(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Providing sales tax zero-rating on import and supply of trucks and dumpers of g.v.w. of 5 tonnes and above:

  • Impact of sales tax would be withdrawn. Simultaneously, adjustment of tax paid on inputs used in the manufacture of such vehicles would be available to the manufacturers.
  • The measure would promote heavier transport vehicles required in construction and allied industry.

Enforced through Notification SRO 548(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Levying upfront single stage sales tax on 30% value addition on import of pesticides.

  • Dealers and distributors are mostly out of tax net, hence pocketing sales tax despite recovering it from the farmers.
  • The measure is aimed to provide pesticides to the farmers at reduced price, besides capturing the revenue of value addition of subsequent stages.

Enforced through Notification SRO 553(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Zero-rating of sales tax on Compost (Non-chemical fertilizer).

  • Under the present regime, chemical fertilizers are chargeable to sales tax on reduced deemed prices. Hence, per acre amount of sales tax for compost is nearly six times higher than the urea fertilizer.
  • The measure is aimed at encouraging organic farming, efficient utilization of water resources, efficient waste management and provide an effective import substitution of chemical fertilizers.

Enforced through Notification SRO 551(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Reducing excise duty on reclaimed oil and introducing uniform rate of excise duty of Rs.2000/- for all grades of Asphalt / Bitumen.

  • The industry producing lubricating oil from reclaimed oil confronting tough competition from unorganized sector. Thus requires some incentive for survival. Accordingly, excise duty on reclaimed oil is being reduced from Rs.5/- per liter to Rs.2/- per liter
  • In the Budget 2005-06, excise duty on Asphalt / Bitumen was levied on specific basis at different rates for paving and blown grades. However, the difference in rate did not correspond with the difference in product.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Sales tax exemption on aircrafts of all types.

  • Under the existing regime, exemption was restricted to imported aircrafts having un-laden weight of 8000 kgs or more.
  • Measure is aimed at promoting the aviation industry, which uses aircrafts below 8000 kgs as opposed to commercial airlines using heavier aircrafts.

Enforced through amendment in the Sixth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990, effective from the 6th June, 2006.

Levying single stage tax @ 3% for retailers having annual turnover of more than 5 million rupees per annum.

  • Presently the scheme is restricted to retailers of specified goods chargeable to tax @ zero per cent, while other retailers paying sales tax on the basis of fixed value addition.
  • The measure is aimed at removing the confusion prevailing in the sector, particularly among the retailers dealing in both types of goods.
  • The levy includes 2% sales tax and 1% income tax as final discharge of tax liability.

Enforced through the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2006 [SRO 560(I)/2006 dated 05-06-2006] effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Allowing input tax adjustment to retailers and wholesaler-cum retailers (Chain Stores) who opt to pay sales tax at standard rate.

  • The phenomenon of hypermarkets and cash & carry stores is fast emerging. Majority of such stores make bulk imports, hence prefer to pay sales tax under normal VAT regime so as to entitle them to input tax adjustment.

Enforced through the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2006 [SRO 560(I)/2006 dated 05-06-2006] effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Abolishing the condition of depositing 15% of the principal amount at the time of filing appeal under the Sales Tax law.

  • The provision, which was introduced in the Budget 2002-03, was not only harsh for the taxpayers, but was also inconsistent with other fiscal statutes.

Enforced through amendment in section 45B of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending Sales Tax & Excise laws to improve the working of ADRC.

  • The concept of minimizing litigations disputes through dispute resolution mechanism was first introduced in the year 2002 in the Sales Tax Act, 1990 and in 2005 in the Excise law.
  • The measure is aimed at improving the working of ADRC, besides synchronizing both laws with other fiscal statutes.

Enforced through amendment in section 47A of the Sales Tax Act and section 38 of the Federal Excise Act. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Allowing commercial importers to file sales tax return on quarterly basis.

  • The commercial importers pay upfront sales tax on 10% value addition at import stage and pay the difference of value addition, if any, at the end of the financial year.
  • In order to facilitate them, quarterly return has been prescribed.

Enforced through the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2006 [SRO 560(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006] effective from the 1st July, 2006.


b) REVENUE MEASURES

Withdrawing exemption of sales tax on computer hardware.

  • Sales tax exemption on computer hardware was provided to encourage the spread of information technology and use of computers.
  • I.T industry has now taken roots and established itself as a booming industry attracting huge investments. The trend for buying branded computers has increased substantially.
  • The levy has been introduced in lieu of 5% customs duty, which has been abolished. Besides, WHT rate has also been brought down from 6% to 1%.

Enforced through amendment in the Sixth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from the 6th June, 2006.

Levying 15% excise duty on international air travel.

  • Presently, domestic air travel is subject to 15% excise duty while international air travel is exempt. The levy would rationalize the excise tariff, besides bringing a positive effect on the public exchequer. Hajj fare / ticketing is exempt from the levy.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Levy of excise duty @ 5% on non-fund services provided by financial services sector.

  • Applicable on fee charged by financial institutions including banks on the services provided by them in respect of opening of letter of credit, brokerage, credit card processing & renewal, foreign exchange dealing and issuance of bank guarantees, etc.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Levying 5% excise duty on commission and brokerage of foreign exchange dealers, exchange companies and money changers.

  • Financial services have grown at an enormous pace during the last couple of years. The levy shall be charged on the gross amount of commission or brokerage charged for the services provided by foreign exchange dealers including money changers.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Levying 5% excise duty on ‘franchise’ services.

  • Franchise service is an internationally recognized service and in Pakistan also, the franchise business has flourished significantly.
  • Excise duty @5% shall be levied on the gross amount paid by the franchisee to franchiser for having the right to sell products under his brand name or trademark.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Cable TV operators to pay Rs.25/- per connection per month as excise duty.

  • The business of Cable TV operators has witnessed a substantial growth in the recent years and almost every household is utilizing the cable TV service.
  • Collection shall be made in collaboration with PEMRA, which is the regulatory authority in case of Cable TV network.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Increasing retail price of cigarettes.

  • Cigarettes are chargeable to excise duty on the basis of retail price.
  • To complement the growth in cigarette industry and to enhance excise duty collection without disturbing the present three tier system for the purposes of levy, retail price of cigarettes is increased by 7%.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Enhancing the rate of excise duty from 3% to 5% on Insurance Service.

  • The rate of 3% excise duty on insurance services remained unchanged for last many years.
  • Excise duty shall be levied on gross premium of services provided by insurance companies, excluding the life insurance.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Excise duty on lubricating oil to be levied on retail price.

  • The rate of excise duty on lubricating oil as well as its primary raw material viz. Base lube oil is same i.e. Rs.7.15/- per liter. Hence, value addition from Base lube oil to lubricating oil was not captured.
  • Lubricating oil is generally sold in retail packing and usually the products sold in retail packing are charged to tax on retail price basis.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal

Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Broadening the scope of Third Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990.

  • Presently, only 17 items are charged to sales tax on retail price basis, whereas there are a number of other consumer items that are being sold in retail packing.
  • The items being included are snacks including potato chips, shoe polish / creams, spices, bulbs and tube lights.

Enforced through amendment in the Third Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Fixation of the value of supply of coal @ Rs.670/- PMT.

  • The measure is primarily aimed at simplifying taxation regime for coalmines, besides doing away with the valuation disputes.
  • Incidence of tax would be Rs.100/- PMT.

Enforced through Notification SRO 544(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Explicitly identifying telecommunication services in the First Schedule to the Excise Act.

  • The telecom sector has undergone a remarkable modernization during the recent years. The present Excise Schedule, drafted in 1991 does not cater to the modern telecom regime.
  • There was a need to rationalize the existing Excise Schedule to remove any ambiguity regarding the scope of levy.

Enforced through amendment in the First Schedule to the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from the 1st July, 2006.


c) SIMPLIFICATION OF TAX LAWS & PROCEDURES

Introducing a consolidated return for sales tax and excise and prescribing annual return for corporate sector.

  • Measure to facilitate the composite units as well as services liable to excise duty in VAT mode and thereby reducing the compliance cost.
  • Annual return prescribed for corporate sector only.

Enforced through the Sales Tax Rules, 2006 [SRO. 555(I)/2006 dated 05-06-2006] effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Introducing the concept of electronic filing of return and other documents through e-intermediaries.

  • The scheme of electronic filing of sales tax and excise returns was launched in November, 2005, which was well received by the corporate sector.
  • In view of the success of the scheme, the government is considering to extend the facility to other businesses.
  • In order to facilitate the taxpayers desirous of filing their returns and other statements electronically, the concept of e-intermediaries is being introduced in the sales tax law. A detailed procedure is also being prescribed.

New section (52A) added to the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Simplification of Refund Rules.

  • The existing refund rules, due to the changes made from time to time and due to introduction of new procedures, have virtually lost their efficiency with regard to expeditious processing of refund claims.
  • The new rules envisage minimum documentation, simplified procedures based on automated risk based processing, centralized disbursement and online payment of refund, provision for online submission of refund claims thereby minimizing taxpayer interface and no manual scrutiny in respect of verifiable inputs.

Enforced through the Sales Tax Rules, 2006 [SRO 555(I)/2006 dated 05-06-2006] effective from the 1st July, 2006.

Simplifying and expediting the processing of sales tax refunds through authorized Chartered Accountants.

  • With a view to expedite the refund claims filed by exporters and other persons engaged in zero-rated supplies, necessary amendment is being made in sales tax law to authorize the Chartered Accountants to process the refund claims on the analogy of fiscal statutes of other successful economies of the World.

Enforced through amendment in section 32A of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Consolidation of Notifications.

  • Currently, as many as 76 Notifications are in the field, making it difficult for the taxpayers to synchronize the amendments made from time to time in or through these notifications.
  • With a view to simplify the law and make its comprehension easier for the taxpayers, these 76 notifications have been amalgamated into 21 notifications only.

All notifications effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Removing anomaly in the definition of ‘Wholesaler.’

  • By virtue of the amendment, the wholesalers while making supplies to the persons, other than Government departments, who are deducting income tax at source, shall be required to pay sales tax on such supplies.

Enforced through amendment in clause (47) of section 2 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending the Excise legislation to restrict the Collector (Appeals) to remand back a case for denovo consideration.

  • The measure aimed at synchronizing the excise law with the sales tax legislation, besides expediting the disposal of cases pending appeals before the Collector (Appeals).

Enforced through amendment in section 33 of the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Identifying the scope of plant, machinery and equipment for sales tax zero-rating.

  • Import and supply of plant, machinery & equipment was zero-rated in the Budget 2004-05, while parts thereof were also zero-rated subsequently in 2005-06 with a view to promote the growth of capital goods’ manufacturing.
  • In order to remove the anomaly and confusion regarding extent of zero-rating, Chapters 84, 85 & 90 of the Pakistan Customs Tariff have been explicitly specified for sales tax zero-rating purposes and a consolidated notification is being issued.
  • Sales Tax notifications SRO 527(I)/2005 and SRO 530(I)/2005 would remain operative.

Enforced through Customs Notification SRO 575(I)/2006 dated 06.06.2006, effective from the 6th June, 2006.

Collection of sales tax on accrual basis from WAPDA.

  • Presently, sales tax on supply of electric power by WAPDA is levied on ‘cash collection basis’ i.e. sales tax becomes due on payment of bill amount by the consumers. Whereas, KESC pays sales tax on billing basis.
  • The measure is aimed at providing a level playing field for both the major players in the field.

Enforced through the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2006 SRO 560(I)/2006 dated 05-06-2006 effective from the 1st July, 2006.


d) LEGAL AMENDMENTS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN TAX COMPLIANCE

Incorporating the enabling provisions in the Federal Excise Act, 2005 to monitor production through CCTV and technical experts.

  • The measure, which is in line with the system in vogue in many advanced economies, would not only help in recording the production also succor in differentiating between tax paid and non-tax paid stocks.
  • CCTV cameras linked to offsite centralized facilities may be installed at the manufacturing premises, for monitoring by tax authorities.

Enforced through amendment in section 45 of the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Incorporating legal provisions in the Sales Tax law to introduce the concept of Joint and Several liability of all partners in the supply chain.

  • The measure is aimed at countering the ‘missing trader fraud’ to secure the government revenue.
  • By virtue of the amendment, all partners in the supply chain would be jointly and severally liable in case the tax due on any stage of supply is not deposited.

New section (8A) added to the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from

1st July, 2006.

Disallowing input tax credit / refund in case the tax is not deposited.

  • The measure is aimed to ensure that the phenomenon of fake and flying invoices does not transgress into the non zero-rated regime.
  • Refund or adjustment of input tax not deposited in the exchequer shall not be allowed.

Enforced through amendment in section 8 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amendment to prescribe time limit for filing of revised return.

  • Sales tax and excise laws are being amended to prescribe a time limit of ninety days for filing of revised return, which would now be done with the prior approval of the concerned Collector.

Enforced through amendment in section 26 of the Sales Tax Act and section 4 of the Federal Excise Act. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Imposing higher penalties for repeated offences.

  • In line with the international best practices, higher pitch of penalty is prescribed for repeated offence, to differentiate between an occasional and a habitual defaulter.

Enforced through amendment in section 33 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Incorporating ‘Sales Tax Accounts’ in the list of records to be maintained by a registered person.

  • Majority of the taxpayers maintain double entry accounts, generally known as Sales Tax Accounts. However, they do not allow access to audit staff to such records due to the restriction imposed by the law.
  • Accordingly, section 22 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 is being amended to include such records in the list of records maintained by a registered person.

Enforced through amendment in section 22 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Requiring the Cigarette manufacturers to print their name on the cigarette packets.

  • The measure is aimed to promote tax compliance as well as to discourage the counterfeit products, thereby benefiting the legitimate industry.

Enforced through amendment in the Federal Excise Rules, 2005 vide SRO 561(I)/2006 dated 05-06-2006 effective from the 1st July, 2006.


e) MISCELLANEOUS LEGAL & PROCEDURAL CHANGES

Powers to search without warrant withdrawn.

  • Section 40A of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 is being abolished, thereby withdrawing the powers of Sales Tax officers to search the premises of a registered person without warrant.
  • Searches can now be made only after obtaining a search warrant from the Magistrate.

Enforced through amendment in the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending the excise legislation to disallow drawback of excise duty.

  • The powers to restrict or disallow input tax credit / adjustment are provided in the Sales Tax law, but are not explicitly provided in the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Since the two levies are administered in same mode, there was a need to harmonize the two laws.

Enforced through amendment in section 5 of the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Inclusion of financial & operating leases in the definition of supply.

  • By virtue of the amendment, financial and operating leases would come under the ambit of chargeability of sales tax, in line with the fiscal statutes of various successful economies across the globe.

Enforced through amendment in clause (33) of section 2 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending section 10 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990.

  • Sub-section (2) of the said section restricts the refund of input tax incurred in connection with zero-rated supplies only. However, there are other situations also where the refund accrues i.e. in cases where the input tax exceeds output tax.
  • By virtue of the amendment, more clarity is brought in the law governing the refund in such cases.

Enforced through amendment in the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending section 26 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 to give coverage to e-filing.

  • Considering the success of e-filing for corporate sector taxpayers, it was deemed proper to extend the scheme to all registered persons. Hence, an amendment was required in the Sales Tax Act, 1990 to give proper legal coverage to e-filing.

Enforced through amendment in section 26 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Providing the powers to the Board to fix the value of imported goods for sales tax purposes.

  • Clause (46) of section 2 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990, empowers the Board to fix minimum value of taxable supply. However, there was no such provision to empower the Board to fix value of imported goods for the purposes of assessment of Sales Tax.

Enforced by substituting clause (46) of section 2 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Power to collect excise duty on minimum fixed price.

  • On the analogy of the Sales Tax law, sub-section (5) of section 12 of the Federal Excise Act, 2005 is being amended to empower the Board to collect excise duty on a fixed minimum value.

Enforced through amendment in the Federal Excise Act, 2005. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Printing of retail price on imported cigarettes.

  • The condition of printing retail price on imported goods was done away with in the last budget, resulting which the excisable goods were also imported without printing of retail price thereon.
  • The amendment is being made on the recommendation of cigarette manufacturers who contended that commercial import of the commodity has increased due to this relaxation.
  • By virtue of the amendment proposed in the Finance Bill, 2006, no cigarettes shall be imported without printing retail price.

Enforced through Notification SRO 545(I)/2006 dated 05.06.2006, effective from the 5th June, 2006.

Introducing the concept of Common Taxpayer Identification Number.

  • The concept of introducing CTIN is an important ingredient of tax reform process initiated by CBR. However, the term was not defined either in the Sales Tax or in the Excise laws. Accordingly, the term is being defined in the two statutes.

Enforced by inserting a new clause (5A) in section 2 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending the Sales Tax law to initiate proceedings in cases of deliberate short filing, without giving show cause notice.

  • Since there was no effective mechanism in the Sales Tax law to recover the legitimate revenue deliberately short paid by taxpayers.
  • The measure is aimed to empower the department to proceed against
  • such deliberate short filers without show cause notice.

Enforced by substituting section 11A of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Prescribing penalty for non-submission of the summary of sale and purchase invoices.

  • The summary of sales and purchase invoices was prescribed in the last budget with a view to verify input tax adjustments and refunds claimed by the taxpayers. However, there was no specific penalty provided for non-compliance, which provided impetus to delinquent taxpayers not to declare their sales and purchases.
  • For a better tax compliance, a penalty of Rs.25000/- is being prescribed for non-submission of the said summary statement.

Enforced through amendment in section 33 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Granting one time extension of time limit for cases pending adjudication.

  • To safeguard the government revenue involved in cases pending adjudication, one time extension upto 31st December, 2006, has been granted for disposal of such cases.

Enforced through amendment in section 45 of the Sales Tax Act and section 31 of the Federal Excise Act. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Abolishing the provisions regarding voluntary registration of person making exempt supplies.

  • The provision regarding voluntary registration was omitted last year. Accordingly, the provision regarding voluntary registration of persons making exempt supplies has become redundant and is therefore, being abolished.

Enforced through amendment in section 13 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Authorizing the Additional Collector to file appeal before the Appellate Tribunal and reference to the High Court.

  • Under the existing Sales Tax and Excise laws, an officer upto the rank of Deputy Collector is authorized to file a reference in the High Court. However, there was no officer specified for filing appeal in the Appellate Tribunal. To remove this anomaly as well as to synchronize the two laws with other fiscal statutes, necessary amendments are being made therein.

Enforced through amendment in sections 46 & 47 of the Sales Tax Act and section 34 of the Federal Excise Act. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Amending the Sales Tax law to introduce the use of Computerized System.

  • The present drive for automation initiated by CBR includes introduction of a comprehensive Computerized System for complete automation of business processes.
  • The amendment is aimed to empower the Board to make rules for regulating the use of Computerized System by the taxpayers.

Enforced by adding a new section (50A) in the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

Enabling the Sales Tax officers to obtain third party information.

  • Section 38A empowers Sales Tax officer to procure information from any person in cases of tax fraud.
  • The amendment has been proposed to enable Sales Tax officer to obtain such information in the cases other than the cases of tax fraud.

Enforced by adding a new section (38B) in the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Effective from 1st July, 2006.

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