LAHORE   -   The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday dismissed dozens of petitions challenging constitution of the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA). The single bench comprising Justice Shahid Jamil Khan heard the petitions.

The petitioners’ counsel argued that the PRA was collecting sales tax on services whereas it did not have any authority for the purpose. They pleaded with the court to set aside the constitution of the authority besides stopping it from collecting the tax.

However, the authority’s counsel argued that, as per law, 16 per cent sales tax could be collected on services. He said that the petitions were filed without any reason and it was an attempt by the petitioners to save themselves from tax. He pleaded with the court for dismissing the petitions after declaring them not maintainable. The court, after hearing the details arguments of the parties, dismissed the petitions.

Meanhile, Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said hailed the decision about the legal status of Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA).

He stated it would boost the morale of THE PRA and its performance will also be improved. The legal justification about the establishment of the PRA will increase the trust of taxpayers along with increasing tax collection system in the province.

He said in a statement that the PRA has proved its mettle with its immaculate performance. Giving the background, he said that the PRA started its journey in 2012 after the transfer of powers of receiving sales tax on services to the provinces under the 18th constitutional amendment and ensured increase in tax collection through computerization of tax collection system in the province. He said that PRA has collected one hundred billion as taxes in 2018-19 alone. Rs. 17 billion were collected in June 2018 while this amount was only Rs. 9 billion in 2017-18. He said that taxpayers are provided different services through the platform of PRA and one link online system has been introduced to ease the business activities. He said that customers’ relationship management system is being introduced during the current fiscal year and the registration as well as the redressal of taxpayers’ complaints will be possible through an automatic system. He said that PRA is the only provincial authority which is ensured complete implementation of Sales Tax Real-time Invoice Verification System through collaborative arrangements with the FBR. It is sanguine that the PRA has educated the people about the importance of taxes payment and laid the foundation of a new tax culture in the province. In this regard, launch of internship programs and inclusion of material about the importance of taxes in syllabi is important.