Progressive Group in the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Finance Ministry and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to take notice of the Banks deducting 0.3 per cent withholding tax from even the filers despite clear instructions issued by the government and the FBR many a times.

Progressive Group’s President Khalid Usman and Deputy Secretary Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer, in a statement, said that they were receiving complaints from different traders that the banks were even deducting the withholding tax from the filers. Especially those traders and businessmen are becoming subject to this injustice those have NTN number in their name but not against their company but are regular in filing their income tax return mentioning all their income.

They said that the banks were advising such persons on protest that they should apply for refunds at the end of the financial year. However, everybody in Pakistan know the fact that its almost next to impossible to get refunds from the FBR. Stuck up refunds also create liquidity problem for the businessmen especially small businessmen.

Progressive Group leaders said that nobody was against paying the taxes but the FBR instead of relying on indirect taxes should broaden the tax net. Constitution of committees by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the name of facilitating the traders will not work. “

The government should pay attention to the real cause of concern. This kind of indirect tax will have a multiplied impact on the transactions. It is hampering the banking transactions and using formal money transactions channels,” they added. They said this tax will not only decrease economic activity but also encourage people to handle all their transactions in cash to avoid taxes. It will also hamper the government efforts of expanding the tax net.

They said that this tax which would discourage use of banking channels also hamper the business of largest service sector i.e. banking sector thus leading to loss of revenue to the national exchequer which is collected on banking services.

They said the government should understand that protests and strikes always hit the economic activities hard therefore this tax should be withdrawn immediately in the larger interest of the economy. They said their group is with all the trade and industrial associations against this imposition of tax on bank transactions.