Pakistan Budget 2023-2024 - Taxfilerz

Executive Summary

Pakistan is currently facing one of its most severe economic crises in decades. With a low Tax to GDP ratio and various challenges, the country is grappling with soaring inflation rates, a dwindling foreign reserve position and a history of recurring economic crises. In response to these issues, the Federal Government has presented its second and crucial budget for the year 2023-24.
The significance of this budget cannot be overstated as it aims to address the pressing issues that are plaguing the economy. One critical step towards alleviating the financial strain and stabilizing the economy is securing a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government recognizes the need for economic reforms and is expected to implement measures to improve the Tax to GDP ratio, enhance revenue generation, and attract investment. The stability of Pakistan’s economy is also of interest to global powers like the United States and China, who have a vested interest in avoiding a default. Thus, the presentation of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year holds significant implications for the country’s economic trajectory

An overview

Income Tax

Bonus shares treated as “income” with a 10% withholding tax and shareholders are required to pay a 10%
tax on the bonus shares’ value.

Sales tax

Federal Excise Duty

Super Tax – Section 4C of the Ordinance

Rates
The Bill has proposed the following changes in the rate of super tax under section 4C of the Ordinance.
Income
Existing Proposed
Tax Year 2022 Tax Year 2023 For Tax Year 2023 and onwards
0 – 150,000,000 0% of the income 0% of the income 0% of the income
150,000,001 – 200,000,000 1% of the income 1% of the income 1% of the income
200,000,001 – 250,000,000 2% of the income 2% of the income 2% of the income
250,000,001 – 300,000,000 3% of the income 3% of the income 3% of the income
300,000,001 – 350,000,000 4% of the income 4% of the income 4% of the income
350,000,001 – 400,000,000 4% of the income 4% of the income 6% of the income
400,000,001 – 500,000,000 4% of the income 4% of the income 8% of the income
Above 500,000,000 4% of the income 4% of the income 10% of the income

For persons engaged, whether
partly or wholly, in the business of
airlines, automobiles, beverages,
cement, chemicals, cigarette and
tobacco, fertilizer, iron and steel,
LNG terminal, oil marketing, oil
refining, petroleum and gas
exploration and production,
pharmaceuticals, sugar and textiles
the rate of tax shall be 10% where
the income exceeds Rs. 300 million
10% of the income Above slab rates Above slab rates
For Banking Companies, where the
income exceeds Rs. 300 million Exempt 10% of the
income N/A
For Banking Companies TY 2024 and
onwards N/A N/A 10% of the income

Minimum tax – Section 113

The Finance Bill has proposed to introduce special minimum tax rate of 1% for the companies listed on Pakistan Stock
Exchange, if not engaged in:
Sui Southern Gas Company Limited and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (for the cases where annual
turnover exceeds rupees one billion.)
▪ Pakistani International Airlines Corporation; and
▪ Poultry industry including poultry breeding, broiler production, egg production and poultry feed production
▪ Oil refineries
▪ Motorcycle dealers registered under the Sales Tax Act, 1990
▪ Oil marketing companies
▪ Oil refineries
▪ Distributors of pharmaceutical products, fast moving consumer goods and cigarettes;
▪ Petroleum agents and distributors who are registered under the Sales Tax Act, 1990;
▪ Rice mills and dealers
▪ Tier-1 retailers of fast-moving consumer goods who are integrated with Board or its computerized system
for real time reporting of sales and receipts
▪ Person’s turnover from supplies through e-commerce including from running an online marketplace as
defined in clause (38B) of section 2.
▪ Persons engaged in the sale and purchase of used vehicles and
▪ Flour mills

Adjustment of minimum tax under section 113

The Bill proposes and explanation to be inserted in section 113, dealing with “minimum tax”, that the minimum tax
paid in a tax year can be adjusted against the normal tax liability of the subsequent tax years.

Tax credit to individuals on construction of residential house

The Finance Bill has proposed tax credit for construction of house for individuals to claim a tax credit for constructing
a new house during the tax years 2024 to 2026.
To be eligible for the tax credit, the house must be completed within the specified tax year, and a completion
certificate must be provided along with the tax return. The law defines a new house as a residential house for which
the layout plan has been approved by the relevant authority on or after July 1, 2023. The amount of tax credit allowed
is determined as the lesser of ten percent of the person’s assessed tax for the year or one million rupees

Tax credit on donations

The Bill has proposed to add following entities in the Thirteenth Schedule. The donation to these entities shall be
eligible for tax credit under section 61 of the Ordinance:
▪ The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for Flood, Earthquake and Other Calamities with effect on and from
the 5th August, 2022
▪ Film and Drama Finance Fund

Time limit for the issuance of exemption certificate for withholding tax on payments to non resident person

The Bill has proposed that the Commissioner shall be deemed to have issued the exemption certificate upon the
expiry of thirty days and the certificate shall be automatically processed and issued by IRIS subject to the condition
that in computing the said period of thirty days, there shall be excluded days taken for adjournment by the applicant.
The Commissioner may modify or cancel the certificate issued automatically by Iris on the basis of reasons to be
recorded in writing after providing an opportunity of being heard.

Special income tax rates for banking company on certain investments in the FG securities

Currently, the banking companies are subject to special income tax rates on income from deposits and investments
in the FG securities. These special rates have been proposed to be made inapplicable to tax year 2024

International Centre of Tax Excellence

The establishment of the International Centre of Tax Excellence is proposed under the Finance Bill.
The proposed Institute will have various functions related to tax policy development, conducting research in tax
administration and policy, facilitating international tax cooperation, organizing seminars and conferences, and
providing capacity building for Inland Revenue Officers, among others.
The Institute’s Executive Committee, consisting of key officials and independent members, will oversee its operations
and make necessary appointments. The Executive Director, who will also serve as the Chief Executive, will ensure
efficient functioning and day-to-day administrative tasks. The Committee will assign the Institute’s tasks for each
fiscal year, and rules will be prescribed for employee recruitment.
A significant portion of the employees are expected to be serving or retired Inland Revenue officers. The
remuneration and employment terms of the Institute’s employees will be determined by the Federal Government.

The establishment of the International Centre of Tax Excellence is proposed under the Finance Bill.
The proposed Institute will have various functions related to tax policy development, conducting research in tax
administration and policy, facilitating international tax cooperation, organizing seminars and conferences, and
providing capacity building for Inland Revenue Officers, among others.
The Institute’s Executive Committee, consisting of key officials and independent members, will oversee its operations
and make necessary appointments. The Executive Director, who will also serve as the Chief Executive, will ensure
efficient functioning and day-to-day administrative tasks. The Committee will assign the Institute’s tasks for each
fiscal year, and rules will be prescribed for employee recruitment.
A significant portion of the employees are expected to be serving or retired Inland Revenue officers. The
remuneration and employment terms of the Institute’s employees will be determined by the Federal Government.

Withholding taxes and advance taxes

Withholding tax on commercial imports

Currently, persons importing goods classified in Part II of the twelfth Schedule to the Ordinance are required to pay
advance tax on the clearance of imports @ 5.5% of the import value as increased by the duties and taxes. The Bill has
proposed that the commercial importers, importing these goods, shall pay advance tax @ 6% of the import value as
increased by the duties and taxes.

Withholding tax on amount of remittance abroad through debit, credit, and prepaid cards

These payments are currently subject to withholding tax to be deducted by the banking company @ 1%. This tax is
an adjustable tax. The Bill has proposed to increase this withholding tax to 5%.

Withholding tax on Exports

With an aim to ensure consistency and alignment between the tax regulations and the export facilitation policies,
the Bill has proposed to include the expression “and Export Facilitation Scheme, 2021” after “Customs Rules, 2001”,
which would have the effect of incorporating the provisions of the Export Facilitation Scheme into the existing tax
laws.
This means that the tax obligations, deductions, and procedures related to direct exporters, export houses, and
indirect exporters would be governed by both the Customs Rules and the Export Facilitation Scheme.

Withholding tax on cash withdrawals

The proposed new withholding tax on cash withdrawal aims to encourage tax compliance and discourage excessive
cash transactions. Under this provision, every banking company will be required to deduct an advance adjustable tax
of 0.6% on cash withdrawals exceeding fifty thousand rupees in a single day from individuals whose names are not
appearing in the active taxpayers’ list.

The intention behind this measure appears to incentivize individuals to become active taxpayers and discourage
excessive reliance on cash transactions, which can potentially be associated with tax evasion or informal economic
activities. By implementing this withholding tax, the government aims to broaden the tax base and increase revenue
collection.
This withholding tax was previously implemented vide Finance Act 2005 but later removed by the Finance Act 2021.
There is a fear that this tax may discourage individuals from engaging in formal banking activities, which could hinder
efforts to promote digital payments and financial inclusion

Advance tax on foreign domestic workers

The proposed new section 231C of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, introduced by the Finance Bill 2023, pertains to
the collection of advance tax on foreign domestic workers. According to the proposed section, any authority issuing
or renewing a domestic aide visa to a foreign national as a domestic worker shall collect a tax of two hundred
thousand rupees from the agency, sponsor, or the employing person. This tax is deemed as adjustable advance tax
for the relevant tax year on the income of the agency, sponsor, or employer.

Advance tax on purchase of immovable property by non-resident Pakistanis

The Finance Act 2021 allowed the withholding tax on purchase of immovable property by non-resident individual
holding Pakistani POC, NICOP, or CNIC, out of the foreign remittance through FCVA and NRVA. This tax is currently
treated as final tax.
The Bill has proposed to make this tax inapplicable to non-resident individuals, holding POC, NICOP, or CNIC, out of
the foreign remittance through FCVA and NRVA

Exemptions, benefits, and special taxation

Exemption to certain welfare and charitable entities

The Bill has proposed the exemption from income tax to the following:
▪ The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for Flood, Earthquake and Other Calamities with effect on and from the 5th
August, 2022.
▪ Film and Drama Finance Fund
▪ Export-Import Bank of Pakistan
▪ Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Institute of Trauma, Karachi
▪ Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology
The Bill has also proposed exemption from minimum tax under section 113 of the Ordinance to the Prime Minister’s
Relief Fund for Flood, Earthquake and Other Calamities with effect on and from the 5th August, 2022

Exemption to profits and gains on sale of immovable property to REIT scheme

Profits and gains accruing to a person on the sale of immoveable property or shares of Special Purpose Vehicle to any
type of REIT scheme under the Real Estate Investment Trust Regulations, 2015 are exempt from income tax up to the
30th day of June, 2023.
The Bill has proposed to extend this exemption to the 30th day of June, 2024.

Exemption to persons in Tribal Areas

Persons in Tribal Areas forming part of the Provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan under paragraph (d) of
Article 246 of the Constitution are exempt from income tax with effect from the 1st day of June, 2018 to the 30th
day of June, 2023 (both days inclusive).
The Bill has proposed to extend this exemption to the 30th day of June, 2024.

Exemption to Builders

The Bill has proposed exemption for tax year 2024 to tax year 2026, tax payable on profits and gains derived from
business chargeable to tax under the head “Income from Business” by a builder registered with Directorate General
of Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions from a new building construction project, shall be reduced,
not below zero, by ten percent or rupees five million whichever is lower for the tax year in which the builder furnishes
along with return the completion certificate issued by the concerned regulatory authority.
For this purpose, “new building project” means a project for the construction of building excluding a land
development project, layout plan of which is approved by the authority concerned on or after the 1st day of July,
2023.

Exemption to youth enterprise

For tax years 2024 to tax year 2026, tax payable by a youth enterprise on profit and gains derived from business
chargeable to tax under the head “Income from Business”
shall be reduced not below zero –
(i) in case of an individual or an association of person by fifty percent or rupees two million
whichever is lower; and
(ii) in case of a company, by fifty percent or rupees five million whichever is lower;
For this purpose, youth enterprise means a startup established on or after first day of July, 2023
as sole proprietorship concern owned by a youth individual or an AOP all of whose members are youth or a company
whose hundred percent shareholding is held or owned by youth individual:
Provided that the startup is not formed by the transfer or reconstitution or reconstruction or splitting up of an existing
business; and

“Youth individual” means a natural person up to the age of thirty years as on first day of the commencement of the
relevant tax year; and
This clause shall not apply where the startup is covered under clause (19) of Part III of the Second Schedule.

Exemption to non-resident banking company

Profit on debt and capital gains from Federal Government’s sovereign debt or a sovereign debt instrument shall be
exempt from tax chargeable under this Ordinance, derived by any non-resident banking company approved by the
Federal Government under a sovereign agreement for the
purpose of this sub-rule

Sales Tax

Production, transmission and distribution of electricity

The Finance Act 2022 added “Production, transmission and distribution of electricity” in the definition of ‘goods’
and ‘supply’ in order to enforce the Federal Government’s stance that the electricity was to be treated as goods
and thus the jurisdiction of sales tax is with the Federal Government.
Th Bill has proposed to exclude the aforementioned specific inclusion of “Production, transmission and distribution
of electricity” in the definition of ‘goods’ and ‘supply’. This has reportedly been in consequence of the decision
made in the National Tax Council in respect of the powers of imposition of sales tax on electricity.

Tier-1 retailer

The definition of tier-1 retailer includes, among other kind of retailers:

Directorate General of Digital Initiatives

The Finance Bill proposes to substitute section 30CA with a new provision that establishes the Directorate General
of Digital Initiatives. This change expands the scope of the existing Directorate General of Digital Invoicing and
Analysis, indicating a more comprehensive approach towards digital transformation in tax administration.
The inclusion of additional positions and officers recognizes the importance of specialized expertise in digital
taxation.

Zero rating

The Finance Bill has proposed zero rating for the imports or supplies made by, for or to a qualified investment as specified at Serial No.1 of the First Schedule to the Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act, 2022 for the period as specified in the Second Schedule to the said Act.
The Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act, 2022 was passed by both houses of parliament. The law aims to facilitate a settlement deal between the government of Pakistan and Canadian company Barrick Gold regarding a mining initiative in Balochistan’s Chagai district. It seeks to provide protection to investors by minimizing court proceedings and other complications. However, there have been objections from certain political parties, including key allies, who believe it undermines the rights of the people of Balochistan. To address these concerns,
amendments to the law were proposed, specifically limiting its application to the qualified investment of the Reko Diq project in Balochistan. The amendment bill needs approval from the National Assembly before it can be finalized.
Despite opposition uproar during the proceedings, the bill for the amendment was passed, with the Finance Minister emphasizing its significance for the Chagai district and the protection of business.

Exemptions

Currently, the law grants sales tax exemption to red chillies, ginger, turmeric, excluding those sold in retail packing
bearing brand names and trademarks. The proposed change in the Finance Bill seeks to modify this exemption to
these goods excluding those sold under brand names and trademarks. This amendment aims to eliminate
ambiguity regarding the exemption of sales tax for these goods sold in bulk packing under a brand name and
trademarks.
Similarly, following goods have been made taxable if sold under a brand name, whether in retail packing or
otherwise:

The Bill has proposed an explanation for removal of doubt, that the blood transfusion sets not packed in aluminum
foil imported with blood bags CPDA-1, in corresponding quantity in same consignment are also exempt.
The Bill has proposed extension in exemption of sales tax on import of plant, machinery, equipment for installation
in Tribal area and of industrial inputs by the industries located in these areas as defined in the Constitution of
Pakistan from June 30, 2023 to June 30, 2024.
Currently, exemption from sales tax is provided to the supplies of electricity, as made from the day of assent to the
Constitution (Twenty-fifth Amendment) Act, 2018, till 30th June, 2023, to all residential and commercial consumers
in tribal areas, and to such industries in the tribal areas which were set and started their industrial production
before 31st May, 2018, but excluding steel and ghee or cooking oil industries. The Finance Bill has proposed to
extend this exemption to June 30, 2024.

Exemptions have been proposed for the following:

Special rates – Eighth Schedule

The following goods are subject to sales tax at the rate of 1% as final discharge of tax in the supply chain, without
deductibility of input tax by the manufacturers and importers:

Islamabad Capital Territory Sales Tax on Services

Provisions of the Sales TaxAct, 1990

The Bill has proposed that the provisions of section 3 of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 pertaining to the powers of FBR to provide rules for the purpose of classification of persons, services, and withholding sales tax, shall apply to the services taxable under the Islamabad Capital Territory (Tax on Services) Ordinance, 2001.

Freelance exporter

The Bill has proposed that the freelance exporter exclusively dealing in export of IT and IT enabled services shall fall
in the definition of “cottage industry” as defined under section 2(5AB), if the annual turnover from all sales does not exceed Rs. 8milion.
For this purpose, the freelance exporter means a person who works on per job and on self-employed basis without
being attached to or under employment of any other person, having the liberty to work on various tasks
simultaneously

Hotels, motels, guest houses, farmhouses, marriage halls, lawns, clubs and caterers

The Finance Bill has proposed that for services provided or rendered by hotels, motels, guest houses, farmhouses, marriage halls, lawns, clubs and caterers, and services provided by restaurants including cafes, food (including icecream) parlors, coffee houses, coffee shops, deras, food huts, eateries, resorts and similar cooked, prepared or ready-to-eat food service outlets etc., the rate of sales tax shall be the following, as against the current flat rate of 15%:

(i) Fifteen percent
(ii) Five percent where payment against services is received through debit or credit cards, mobile wallets or QR scanning subject to the condition that no input tax adjustment or refund shall be admissible; and
(iii) Fifteen percent where payment received in cash.

Services provided by Software or IT based system development consultants [9815.6000]

These services are currently taxable at the rate of 16%. The Bill has proposed to change the rate to 15%.
The IT services and IT-enabled services [Respective Headings] have been proposed to be taxable at Five percent subject to the conditions that no input tax adjustment or refund shall be admissible. For this purpose, the Bill has proposed to provide the following definitions:
“IT services” include but not limited to software development, software maintenance, system integration, web design, web development, web hosting and network design; and
“IT enabled services” include but not limited to inbound or outbound call centres, medical transcription, remote monitoring, graphics design, accounting services, human resources (HR) services, telemedicine centres, data entry operations, cloud computing services, data storage services, locally television programs and insurance claims processing.

Electric Power Transmission Services

The sales tax rate has been proposed at 15% consequent to the decision of NTC to treat the electric supply as services

Federal Excise Duty

The proposed budgetary measures for the Federal Excise Duty (FED) in the fiscal year 2023-24 are as follows:

Customs Duty

The proposed budgetary measures under the Customs Act 1969 for the fiscal year encompass various significant aspects aimed at promoting trade facilitation, providing relief measures, reviewing the regulatory regime, making miscellaneous changes, implementing revenue measures, and introducing legislative amendments. The guiding principles underlying these measures emphasize important objectives such as ensuring that there is no increase in duties on the import of essential items, facilitating trade and enhancing the ease of doing business, encouraging industrialization and investment, providing incentives for the agriculture sector, promoting energy efficiency and conservation, and fostering the growth of Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services. To provide relief to specific sectors, the proposed measures include the exemption of customs duties on specific papers and materials used for printing the Holy Quran, offering incentives to the pharmaceutical sector by adding more items to the existing duty-free regime, and providing incentives for the manufacturing of solar panels and
related equipment by exempting customs duties on the import of necessary machinery, equipment, and inputs.
Furthermore, the proposed measures aim to support exporters in the IT and IT-enabled services industry by allowing duty-free import of IT-related equipment equivalent to 1% of their export proceeds. There are also reductions in customs duties and additional customs duties on the import of intermediary and industrial inputs falling under
specific PCT code

The budgetary measures also seek to streamline the regulatory regime by exempting customs duties on raw materials and inputs for various industries, including diapers, sanitary napkins, adhesive tape, capacitors, and machine tools.
Additionally, efforts are made to align the Fifth Schedule to the Customs Act with the Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP) 2021-26, and exemptions are proposed on the import of seeds for sowing and shrimps/prawns/juveniles for breeding in commercial fish farms and hatcheries.
The review of the regulatory regime involves the removal or reduction of regulatory duties on various goods, such as second-hand clothing, IT-related equipment, synthetic filament yarn, parts for flat panels and monitors, silicon steel sheets, and special steel round bars and rods. Moreover, the measures include changes in PCT codes and the conversion of specific CD rates to ad-valorem rates for certain goods

In terms of revenue measures, the proposed changes include the withdrawal of fixed duties and taxes on the import of used vehicles above 1300 CC of Asian makes, the increase of regulatory duty on tungsten filament incandescent bulbs to discourage their use, and the increase of export regulatory duty on molasses. These measures aim to generate revenue while balancing economic considerations.
Lastly, the proposed legislative amendments include rephrasing the definition of smuggling to enable Customs to conduct anti-smuggling operations within the country’s territorial limits, including provincial levies and Khasadar Force as government agencies assisting Customs in anti-smuggling operations, and strengthening penalties for offenses related to smuggling, evasion of duty and taxes, and the smuggling of essential, banned, and contra-banned goods. The amendments also seek to streamline trade procedures, enhance the warehousing period for perishable items, rationalize penalties, facilitate adjudication through the Customs Computerized System, and allow representatives to file baggage declarations on behalf of group passengers.

Disclaimer

This publication provides an overview of important tax amendments that are proposed in the Finance Bill 2023 regarding taxation laws. It serves as a general summary for informational purposes only. To obtain more detailed information, please consult the Finance Bill, the specific provisions of the laws intended to be amended, and seek advice from your advisor. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any loss resulting from actions taken or not taken by individuals relying on this document

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