LAHORE             -          Less number of taxes, reduced frequency of payments and an effective mechanism of the refund payments would not only give a momentum to the economic activities but would also help further improvement in ease of doing business index. In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad said that Pakistan stands at an appalling position of 161st in the doing business ranking of paying taxes. According to the World Bank Doing Business 2020 report, Pakistani businessmen pay 34 taxes in a year as compared to Hong Kong 3, UAE 5, Ireland 9, Malaysia 9 and India 12 and these are the countries Pakistan has to compete in the world economy. They said that businesses in Pakistan make 1 payment of Corporate Income Tax in a year, 12 payments of Employer Paid-Pension Contributions, 12 payments of Social Security Contributions, 1 payment of education cess, 1 payment of property tax, 1 payment of professional tax, 1 payment of vehicle tax, 1 payment of stamp duty and 1 payment. They said that taxes are imperative to run the affairs of the government but these should be imposed in an efficient way, keeping in view the ground realities. They demanded that monthly frequency of tax payments related to Employs Old Age Benefit Intuition (EOBI) and Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI) must be reduced to once a year. They said that professional and property tax should be clubbed together. Likewise, federal and provincial sales tax should also be clubbed together and the frequency of its payment should be reduced to once a year.

They said that all tax payments should be accepted through credit card, debit card, direct debit or using internet/mobile banking. They suggested that refunds up to Rs 50 million rupees should be instantly released while all the backlog of refunds should be cleared within two months upon the filing of returns.

They said that electronic filing and online payment should be made mandatory for all departments. Risk-management system should be improved to reduce the number of physical audits.