Pakistan News

Supreme Court restores all taxes on mobile phone top-up cards

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan ordered today (April 24) to restore all the suspended taxes on mobile phone top-up cards.


A three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa remarked that the Supreme Court will not intervene in public revenue and tax collection matters pertaining to advance tax on mobile phone top-up card case.


-Restoration of tax card phones to help generate Rs 15 billion in two months.

-Tax collection on card might help generate Rs 7.5 billion a month.

-Before the apex court decision tax collection was around Rs 90 billion.

-In July 2018 apex court halted tax collection on cellular phone cards.

-Overall tax collection of the government form cellular phone stood around Rs 147 billion.

-Government collect tax of 12.5% as withholding tax and 17% to 19.5% as FED.


‘Suspension on top-up card tax in 2018‘

Last year in June 2018, under former CJP Justice (retd) Saqib Nisar in the SC took suo motu notice and ordered suspension in tax collection on top-up cards of mobile phone. He remarked that people were being robbed by paying taxes more than the fixed amount.


Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan objected to the judicial decision saying that there is no notice on the implementation of phone card taxes. Due to the order of tax omission, the government is being deprived of a large amount of revenue. If someones wants tax refund then that person is applicable to talk to the relevant commissioner, he added.


Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that the notice of the mobile phone card was taken on the order of five judges. Taxes were being collected from millions of people, even from poeple inelgible to pay it. The TV license tax is also being collected from every citizen. Income tax is not applicable for every TV viewer but still everyone pays it, he asserted.


Justice Ijazul Ahsan remakred that collection of tax from a person who is ineligible to pay it is a violation of fundamental rights.


Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Tariq Mahmood appeared in SC Branch Registry Lahore on mobile phone top-up cards tax deduction and informed court that 130 million people use mobile phones in Pakistan. To charge them on phone calls is companies’ personal process. Only five percent of Pakistanis pay tax, he added.


Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that how can the tax be collected from those who are not even in tax net? Chief Justice questioned that how did a handcart vendor who uses phone can be added to the tax net? How can mobile tax be applicable to all 130 million people? It is discrimination not to differentiate between the taxpayer and those who do not have to pay it.


The SC suspended all taxes imposed by mobile phone companies and the FBR, giving them respite to implement orders in 2 days. The court hold it unlawful to collect Rs63 on the top-up of Rs 100. SC ordered to make a comprehensive policy for tax collection on mobile phone cards.


On the issue of tax deduction on mobile phone cards, the FBR replied that despite the tax, mobile phone usage in Pakistan is cheaper than many countries. Taxes in Pakistan are less than Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. There are many types of taxes for consumers in other countries.


Today, all taxes withheld earlier by Supreme Court on June 12, 2018 now ordered to be restored. Hence all taxes will now be applicable as it used to be.

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