LAHORE   -  Stressing the need of reforms in tax laws, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Almas Hyder said that businessmen avoid filing returns due to complicated system which was causing huge loss to the national exchequer.  Speaking at All Pakistan Chambers Presidents Conference organized by Gujrat Chamber, he said that giving due respect to the taxpayers, simplification of taxation system and trust building measures would help broadening the tax net.

Representatives of Sahiwal, Jhelum, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Mirpur, Hazara, Islamabad, Khanewal and Gujrat Chambers also spoke on the occasion.

The LCCI President said that all over the world the businessmen were fined over tax related violations but the situation was otherwise in Pakistan. He said that people here were being punished for being a taxpayer. He urged the Presidents of chambers to carryout research to indentify rules and regulations causing hindrance and harassment of businessmen. He said that all the presidents of the chambers were planning to meet Prime Minister’s Advisor on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh before upcoming budget to apprise him of the difficulties coming in the way of expansion of businesses. “Cotton producing countries including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh could not secure benefits from the agricultural sector due to excessive taxation on raw material,” he observed. He further said that the business community should hire professional tax and corporate lawyers to reduce tax woes. He said that government deserved applause for signing second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, saying that a special window at low interest rates should be given to food and engineering industries.

The other speakers stressed the need for encouraging non-filers to come into tax net. For this purpose, they said, there was need of stopping harassment of existing filers.

“Economic and business activities across the country have been suffering a lot due to the ongoing harsh strategy of tax collection as factories are being shut, causing unemployment and loss of industrial production,” joint declaration reads.