FBR Submits Response in SC for Mobile Taxes and We Think It Was Highly Irresponsible

The FBR has submitted a detailed response to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of taxes being deducted on prepaid mobile cards.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had asked the FBR, federal and provincial governments to submit detailed responses on why upto 42% tax was being charged on prepaid cellular cards.

Upon being told that for every cellular charge, 12.5 percent was deducted as a withholding tax, up to 19pc as sales tax and another 10pc as services charges, the court had remarked: “Is this not exploitation? This is an illegal way to get money from people.”

In its detailed response, the FBR justified the levying of withholding taxes on mobile calling cards, saying that due to a lack of documentation of economic transactions in developing countries, the tax base and revenue collection is low, which is why “withholding taxes are the main source to broaden the tax base and generate revenue.”

“A person has the right to claim a refund if his annual tax liability is less than the tax withheld,” it added

The FBR said that the practice is “prevalent across many countries” and claimed that Pakistan still has lower taxes levied in the telecom sector than countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey.

“Mobile phone usage is still cheaper in Pakistan than many countries,” the FBR’s response stated.

The FBR pointed out that the rate of withholding tax levied on pre-paid cards was in fact reduced from its peaks of 15pc in 2013-14 to 12.5pc for the fiscal year 2017-18.

Has FBR just dodged the Supreme Court?

FBR’s response is incredibly irresponsible for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the telecom sector is one of the most highly taxed sectors in Pakistan as well as the region. Secondly, the FBR is taking credit for cheap mobile phone usage while the fact is that mobile phone usage is cheap due to intense price war between operators, not because of low taxes.

If taxes are rationalized and brought to more sensible levels, the people of Pakistan will be offered even better rates for text, voice, and data and they can directly contribute towards the uplifting of the national economy.


  • The government is against technology even though it’s productivity enhancing and can increase our economic growth levels.

  • In Short : FBR Ne Tax Rate Reduce Nahi Karna Bus Justification Dena tha K Economy K Liye Zarori Hai :

  • Can someone provide statistics or comparison chart about SAARC member countries and Turkey, Malaysia etc to cross check FBR claim
    that Pakistan still has lower taxes levied in the telecom sector than these countries.

    Specially which country has imposed such high rate WHT on RS 100 mobile card?

  • Taxing ICT, Internet, is un-accceptable, un-heard of. We’re already undergoing the consequences of decline of our Rupee value versus US$. Government is more smart than the internet users. We should not be a laughing stock.

  • Here in foreign countries Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand approximately a minimum amount require for the service of communication but we enjoy 100% free call to each other. Many free services are available here for conversation for all sort of business deal, sharing photos, documents etc.

    In Pakistan we think a total NAKAM RIYASAT, machinery of fake government run upon the TAX money of PETROLEUM, GAS, ELECTRIC (the basic necessities of the people) and illegal charges upon telecommunication charges. Even though our country has gone down than CAMBODIA, PHILIPPINE, VIETNAM, BANGLADESH, SINGAPORE, THAILAND, INDIA etc.

  • I have used local networks in thailand and Bangladesh, after charging card there is no tax deduction. While making a call they deduct tax but it is a very nominal amount. I am unable to understand that why we should pay tax on card charge, making a call, sending a sms. Tax on purchasing and then tax on paid tax on that purchase……….

    • Exactly nowhere Advance Income Tax is levied against Mobile Recharge and that too with such unthinkable high rate.

  • 10% collected by companies as service charge is totally ghunda gardi. Every telecom company outside of Pak maintain its network from its profits. here they are earning profits through calls and still charging service charges

  • Here in New Zealand. you get unlimited calling all over austrailia and NZ (any networks plus land lines) plus 2.5gb internet for 40$. GSt included. there is no other taxes.

    • Bhai ZONG 800 Rupee Main 4G De Raha hai Unlimited* Calls K Sath 4000 Mb Package l
      NZ Wale Apko Lot Rahy hai

      • Bhai yeh unlimited calling any network par hai. not zong to zong. aur yeh 3000 rs bante hain. pakistan mein koi aisa package nai hai. keh ap kisi network par unlimited calling karein

        • 3000 Min = 50 Hours A Month : Is Too Much Calling Min Specially in Ramadan.
          Ab Kiya Bache Ki Jan Loge.

    • Dammm that’s expensive. I get 4 GB 4G internet and Rs 800 worth of calls free (any networks plus land lines) for Rs 340. In Rs 4600 I can get this package 13 times a month getting 52GB internet and Rs 10,400 worth of calls

      • Is Se Behtar PostPaid Le Lete : Bekaar Main PrePaid Main Lage Howe Ho.
        Aur Phir Bhi Dil Na Bharhe then you can Switch to your Network into PTCL. )p

  • FBR must also tell SC about the poverty level, per Capita income, inflation in other countries to which they are comparing……

    • SC already knows : Wo Koi Village Se Nahi Aye hai
      That is all Brain Washing to Public for Diversion of Nawaz Bayan :
      Everyone knows nothing can happen with Court Orders.

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