The Federal Government has decided to release Rs. 22 billion of verified sales tax refunds to exporters through the newly installed Fully Automated Sales Tax e-Refund (FASTER) system.
The first payment through FASTER, for the tax period of July 2019, has been made on 2nd September 2019, and the State Bank of Pakistan has confirmed the amount in the bank account of the claimant.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenues Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has stated that the government had decided to release Rs. 22 billion of verified sales tax refunds immediately in order to provide liquidity support to businesses.
In his tweet he said,
Important Decision by the Government on Tax Refunds for the promotion of economic activity in the country and to provide liquidity support to businesses.
1) Rs 22 billion of verified sales tax refunds for all years to be released immediately.
— Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh (@a_hafeezshaikh) September 2, 2019
He said that tax refunds of Rs. 1.7 billion would be released (up to Rs. 100,000 per person) immediately. The verification process for other outstanding refunds will be expedited. Income tax refunds between Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh per person for all remaining years will be paid next month.
Only 9 refund claims of five exporter-oriented sectors were received by Friday and the payment has been made against the claim that was cleared by the risk management system of FASTER, a statement issued by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said.
It added that the number of refund claims received is not significant. FBR encourages exporters to submit their claims in form Annex-H so that their claims can be processed and paid as fast as possible.
As a consequence of rescission of SRO 1125(I)/2011 dated 31-12-2011, which allowed zero-rating of inputs of five export-oriented sectors, only the manufacturing sector’s exporters could avail release of refunds through FASTER. The majority of commercial exporters that filled Annexure-H were not eligible to avail faster refunds.
So far the FASTER system, he said, is able to issue a cheque directly to exporters’ accounts within 72 hours of completing reconciliation procedures.
FBR’s Chief of Sales Tax and Federal Excise (Policy) Hameed Memon announced that exporters of five leading sectors are required to submit the annexure-H form (stock statement) with the sales tax returns for receiving sales tax refunds within 72 hours under the FASTER System.
These include textiles, leather, carpets, sports goods, and surgical goods. The refunds shall be paid to them within 72 hours of filing of the refund claim. FBR clarified earlier that submission of Annex-H, which is a form in the monthly sales tax returns, shall be treated as a submission of a refund claim.
For this purpose, FBR has developed a new IT module called FASTER. This module will process claims of exporters of five export-oriented sectors for the tax period July 2019, and onwards.
Meanwhile, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi stated on Monday that FBR is going to substantially modify its valuation model for determination of customs duty and other taxes levied at import stage.