The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) has collected Rs111.672 billion tax on services during the first eight months (July-February) of the current fiscal year compared with Rs96.6 billion during the corresponding period of the last year, showing a growth of 16 per cent.
PRA has set the target of collecting Rs155.9 billion during the ongoing fiscal year. As such the authority has so far completed 72 per cent of the assigned annual target.
Revenue collection during the first eight months is more than the second highest annual collection since the constitution of the PRA. The authority was formed in 2012 to collect sales tax and withholding tax on 100 plus services.
As per the available data, the revenue collection has grown considerably on almost all services. It has collected Rs20.81 billion from the telecommunication services, Rs19.6 billion from the withholding agent, Rs12.912 billion from banking, non-banking and insurance services, Rs4.514 billion from franchise services, Rs4.178 billion from the courier services and Rs2.403 billion from manpower recruitment agents.
Similarly, restaurants fetch Rs2.381 billion; contractual execution of work, Rs2.132 billion; construction services, Rs1.948 billion; technical services, Rs1.839 billon; services related to transport of goods, Rs1.667 billion; security agency services, Rs1.619 billion; hotels, Rs1.364 billion; and IT-enabled or IT-based services, Rs1.315 billion.
Unprecedented revenue collection during the last eight months is likely to cause upward revision in the annual target of the Punjab Revenue Authority.
PRA Chairman Zain-ul-Abidin Sahi expressed the hope to comfortably surpass the assigned target for the current fiscal year.
“PRA had collected Rs143.7 billion during the last fiscal year, highest annual collection since the constitution of the PRA. Prior to the last fiscal year, PRA collected Rs109 billion. Estimated collection for the current fiscal year is Rs155.9 billion,” he said, while talking to BOL News.
The collection during the last eight months has surpassed the second highest annual collection so far, he said.
About possible upward revision in the target in the wake of unprecedented collection during the last eight months, Sahi said that it was on the cards. However, he avoided giving exact figures, saying it was up to provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht to take the final decision after evaluating different factors in the next budget review meeting.
However, insiders believe that the revised target or estimates would be in the range of Rs166 billion to Rs170 billion.
For Sahi PRA showed good performance even during the testing time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government provided Rs56 billion tax relief to 25 plus services during the pandemic. Despite unprecedented tax relief, PRA achieved revenue collection targets during the pandemic,” he said, adding that the revenue collection was increasing gradually even after not taking advance sales tax on services.
Giving reasons for gradual rise in the revenue collection, he said, the taxpayers were increasing due to conducive polices, awareness, ease in registration, prompt complaint redressal and open-door policy.
“There is no issue of political will. PRA has been given free hand with no political interference,” he said, adding that the people were ready to pay taxes if encouraged and given proper awareness about the registration process.
“Due to conducive policies and rising awareness, the registered taxpayers have now reached 105k plus from mere 2,200 in 2012,” Sahi said, adding that the Restaurant Invoice Monitoring System (RIMS) and Electronic Invoice Monitoring System (EIMS) developed by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) had helped yield desired results.
PRA launched RIMS in 2015 and EIMS in 2020 for streamlining tax collection from restaurants.
“PRA has simplified the registration process. It has arranged 400 plus workshops for educating intending taxpayers about the registration process and benefits of regularly paying taxes. Moreover, I have adopted an open-door policy for facilitating the taxpayers,” he said.
PRA has earned a good name through online complaint registration and early redressal, he added.
“PRA officials are bound to immediately react to information-related queries. I am personally monitoring the complaints. Officials are bound to dispose of complaints within given timeline,” The PRA chairman said, adding that the initiative has not only provided relief to the taxpayers but also helped in improving the efficiency of PRA officials.
About pending litigation, he said, PRA was successfully settling cases through negotiations with the litigants.
“We have adopted pragmatic approach for avoiding unnecessary litigation and settling the existing cases. Now, only around 500 cases are pending with the courts,” he said, adding that the legal team was negotiating with a number of litigants for settlement.