Parameters for USAS audit to be notified by January 15

ISLAMABAD (December 09 2003): The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has conveyed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the parameters for conducting audit of cases under Universal Self Assessment Scheme (USAS) would be notified by January 15.

The data entry of the income tax returns filed under the USAS is under process and the audit will be carried out under new parameters issued by mid-January.

Official sources told Business Recorder the Fund mission conveyed new taxation measures to enhance revenue collection particularly general sales tax (GST) during 2004-05.

The Fund mission convened daylong meetings with the Member Sales Tax Shahid Ahmed, Member Tax Policy and Reforms M.S. Lal, Member Direct Taxes Vakil Ahmed Khan and Member Central Excise Naseer Ahmed.

All members gave comprehensive presentations to the mission focusing on measures to be taken for tax collection during next financial year.

The CBR committed with the IMF that the issue of imposition of GST on professional service-providers like lawyers and chartered accountants would be taken up with the provinces, which have the authority to promulgate the legislation.

The IMF is also pressing the authorities to enhance percentage of turnover tax and additional sales tax (further tax) enforcing measures to increase sales tax revenue.

The excise authorities have assured the Fund mission that the CBR would soon notify new measures to enhance collection of central excise duty (CED) on cigarettes, cement and POL products.

The CBR told the IMF the government is focusing on broadening the tax base by utilising the available data. Secondly, strengthening the audit capacity is also on top of the agenda.

The parametric selection of cases and utilisation of information collected from external sources would be instrumental in enhancing audit capacity.

On the possibility of withdrawal of more income tax exemptions, sources said the CBR has to take formal approval from the parliament to abolish any income tax exemption given in the budget.

As per Income Tax Ordinance-2001, it is mandatory for the CBR to take prior approval from the National Assembly for making any amendment/changes in the Second Schedule of the said Ordinance.

Sources said the doing away with the exemptions would mean that somebody would have to be taxed, which would not be an easy task for the authorities concerned.

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