A Parliamentary panel has asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to bound cellular companies to collect all details of consumers to avoid deduction of withholding tax/Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cards load from customers who don’t fall under taxable limit.
Senator Daud Khan Achakzai, convener of the Sub-Committee of the Committee on Delegated Legislation while presiding over the meeting said that the government deducts Rs. 35 as withholding tax and other taxes from the mobile consumers on a card load of Rs. 100.
However, those with under Rs. 100,000 income per year are not liable to such taxes.
To resolve this, Mr. Khan asked PTA to restrict mobile companies to collect all details of consumers before issuing mobile phone SIMs to stop deduction of Rs 35 withholding tax/FED etc. from those whose income is below than Rs 100,000 per year.
Achakzai questioned FBR as where is it depositing the amount collected through withholding tax from non-taxpayer consumers who are not holders of National Tax Numbers (NTNs).
A senior official of the PTA told the meeting that the Authority only regulates functions of cellular companies and it has nothing to do with the deduction of withholding tax from the consumers.
“PTA does not regulate fiscal laws but it only regulates services of cellular companies”, he said, adding the deduction of withholding tax is the job of FBR and only they can devise mechanism to avoid deduction of withholding tax from consumers whose income is less than Rs. 100,000 per year.
He said the PTA held several meetings with the FBR over tax deduction, and FBR has appointed a consultant on the recommendation of the PTA.
Senator Kalsoom Parveen said that all cellular companies are accountable to the PTA as they are issued licenses from PTA only.
The committee also discussed rules, regulations, notifications and SROs of the PTA and asked the Authority to inform the committee about amendments in all existing rules and regulations during the next meeting.
PTA officials informed the meeting that the PTA is an autonomous body and it formulated 22 regulations under Telecom Act. The PTA also made 19 amendments in the exiting regulations, meeting was told.
PTA said that amendment in Telecom Act can be made through the Ministry of Information Technology following the approval of the Parliament.
Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi said that if there is need of amendment in the Telecom Act, then the PTA should propose amendment and submit it to the committee after vetting it from the Ministry of Law.
An official of the Ministry of IT told the meeting that the existing Telecom Act has become outdated and the Ministry of Law is working over the amendments in the Act.