Sales tax auditors against amnesty scheme

ISLAMABAD (October 06 2003): Sales tax auditors are against the amnesty scheme offered to business community for clearing their past sales tax liabilities without audit proceedings through SRO 500(I)/2003, tax consultants told Business Recorder here on Sunday.

The scheme was launched in budget 2003-04 for exemption of sales tax and additional tax for different categories of taxpayers after fulfilment of conditions specified in SRO.500.

The scheme has clearly mentioned that “no audit of the record shall be conducted in case the liabilities accrued in terms of this notification are paid by the 30th September, 2003”.

However, the auditors launched a negative propaganda against the scheme to document taxpayers availing opportunity to clear their sales tax liabilities through the scheme.

In some cases, the auditors also claimed, just to misguide the taxpayers, that SRO 500 has been rescinded by CBR.

Tax practitioners said that basically the auditors are not in favour of the scheme because all cases covered under the SRO 500 would not be liable to audit. Thus, the chances of corruption by auditors reduce considerably.

It has also been alleged that sales tax auditors were found busy in convincing people not to avail the scheme, whereas the tax authorities were not interested in taking any concrete step to check manipulation by the auditors.

The original scheme covers different categories of taxpayers including those registered or enrolled before July 1, 2000; persons registered/enrolled during July 1, 2000 and May 31, 2003 period; persons who apply for registration/enrolment during June 1, 2003-August 31, 2003 period; and persons registered or enrolled during July 1, 2000-May 31, 2003 and remained partially compliant.

The private consultants alleged that CBR has not made any arrangement to publicise the scheme. This resulted in a situation where a large number of people were unaware about the scheme.

Moreover, most of the people were busy in filing their income tax returns and could not find time to file sales tax returns.

The CBR could generate extra revenue after extending the date of SRO 500 for another month, they added.

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