Telecom Operators Urge SIFC to Remove Fines and Advance Tax on Non-Filers

The Telecom Operators Association has urgently appealed to the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to remove the PKR 100-200 million fines imposed on the telecom sector under the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Income Tax General Orders (ITGOs) for non-filers.

In a letter to the authorities, the association urged the withdrawal of these “punitive measures” proposed in the Finance Bill 2024-25. They also requested a review and elimination of the 75 per cent advance tax on mobile services for non-compliant non-filers.

The association argued that the proposed fines of Rs. 100 million and Rs. 200 million every fortnight for ITGO implementation, particularly targeting non-tax filers, are discriminatory and unjust. They emphasized that these fines unfairly penalize telecom operators who have no direct role in ensuring tax filing compliance. Such punitive measures could deter foreign investment, the association warned.

Telecom Operators Urge SIFC to Remove Fines and Advance Tax on Non-Filers

The association’s plea for the withdrawal of these fines is also supported by the Senate Committee.

Regarding the 75 per cent advance tax on mobile services, the association highlighted the operational challenges in distinguishing between compliant and non-compliant tax filers among Pakistan’s 180 million mobile subscribers. They pointed out that the current system cannot implement this measure effectively, calling for a review and abolition of this amendment.

The association acknowledged the cooperation of Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb and the Chairman of the FBR on this matter. They expressed confidence in their commitment to assisting the FBR in achieving its goals wherever possible.

Given the challenges discussed and the detailed deliberation on these measures, the association concluded that the proposals in the Fiscal Bill 2024 are unwarranted. They urged for the immediate withdrawal of these proposed amendments from the Finance Bill 2024-25 due to time constraints.

Reports suggest that the SIFC has also summoned representatives of telecom companies to deliberate on this matter. The association remains hopeful that the discussions will lead to a favourable outcome that addresses their concerns and supports the growth and sustainability of the telecom sector.

See Also: Telecom Companies Protest Rs 100-200m Fine for Failing to Block SIMs of Non-Filers

This urgent appeal underscores the critical need for balanced and fair regulatory measures that consider the operational realities of the telecom sector. The association’s proactive stance aims to protect the interests of telecom operators while ensuring that tax compliance measures are implemented in a just and practical manner. By fostering a supportive environment for telecom companies, the government can attract foreign investment and ensure the continued growth and development of the telecom industry in Pakistan.

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Onsa Mustafa

Onsa is a Software Engineer and a tech blogger who focuses on providing the latest information regarding the innovations happening in the IT world. She likes reading, photography, travelling and exploring nature.

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