ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has lauded the initiative of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for finalising the rules of Fully Automated Sales Tax E-Refund (FASTER) procedure for export-oriented sectors.

Businessmen termed it a positive development as it will ensure prompt issue of sales tax refunds to the exporters and help address their liquidity problems.

President ICCI Ahmed Hassan Moughal, and Senior Vice President ICCI Rafat Farid, Senior said in a joint statement on Monday that billions of rupees of taxpayers were stuck up with FBR as claims of sales tax refunds due to which the businesses were facing liquidity crunch.They said that it was a longstanding demand of taxpayers from the government to develop a new mechanism for timely clearance of refunds.

They hoped that the new rules finalized by FBR would expedite the processing of claims filed by the exporters and help in early refunds of such claims that would reduce liquidity problems and improve cash flows of businesses. 

President ICCI urged FBR for taking measures to develop a fully automated payment system for sales tax, income tax and customs duties in order to minimize the interface between taxpayers and tax collectors.

He said such arrangement would reduce the element of harassment in taxpayers and improve the tax revenue of the country.

He said a simplified and fully automated tax payment system was the need of the hour to improve the confidence of taxpayers and urged that FBR should take all possible measures to realize this objective. ICCI President said that tax rates in Pakistan were quite high due to which culture of tax evasion was getting encouragement.         He, therefore, stressed that FBR should reduce high tax rates and focus on broadening the tax base that would go a long way in encouraging tax culture and improving tax revenue of the country.