IT Ministry Proposes 10-Year Tax Exemption for Freelancers

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has proposed a 10-year tax exemption for freelancers, facilitating account opening and removing double taxation on the overall telecom sector, to ensure ease of doing business and improve exports.

Talking to ProPakistani after chairing the maiden meeting of the Committee on IT Exports Growth on Tuesday, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Amin-ul-Haque, said various proposals were tabled in the meeting with an ultimate focus on achieving the export target of $3.5 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.

Secretary IT, Dr. Sohail Rajput, Managing Director Pakistan Software Export Board (FBR), and officials from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Board of Revenue, Commerce Ministry, and Board of Investment also attended the meeting.

The Minister said that freelancers were an asset of the country, as they played a vital role in boosting exports and jobs creation. He said it was proposed to help remove double taxation on the telecom sector applicable in some areas. He added that it was hurting business activities and negatively impacting investment in the sector as well. He said the committee tasked the Secretary IT to hold a meeting with FBR and SBP to discuss the tax exemption for freelancers. He said that tax certification was also discussed, adding that three meetings had already been held in this regard.

Pakistan has reported its highest IT and Telecom services exports in five months. ICT export remittances, including telecommunication, computer, and information services, for the period July-November FY2021-22 have surged to $1.051 billion at a growth rate of 37.57 percent compared to $764 million during July-November FY 2020-21.

In November 2021, the ICT export remittances were recorded at $221 million, posting a growth rate of 31.55 percent as opposed to $168 million reported for November 2020. Furthermore, $26 million higher than export remittances were reported during the previous month of October 2021.

The net exports for the period July-November FY2021-22 are $797 million, which is 75.83 percent of $1.051 billion in exports. Last year, for the same period, the net exports were $554 million, which was 72.51 percent of $764 million in exports.

The growth in exports value of the sector is evident that the local and multinational IT companies are delivering a good number of orders to the foreign clients in different countries.

Measures of the government to support IT exports are reaping fruits. Leading IT exporters have planned to boost up the exports of the IT sector despite the challenges of ease of doing business, regulatory barriers, and the shortage of skilled human resources.