STAFF REPORT ISB: State Minister for IT Anusha Rehman has expressed annoyance over the provinces’ interference regarding collection of taxes on telecom sector.

She raised the issue at the Senate’s Standing Committee on ITandT which recently met here with Shahi Syed in the chair.

Expressing its concerns over the taxation measures, the committee also decided for legal interpretation in this regard and also sought legal help to resolve the issue.

Anusha said that collection of taxes on telecom sector is a federal subject and has not been devolved to provinces.

Briefing the committee on tax collection on phone cards, easy-load from cellular companies, the FBR confirmed that it has no mechanism and capacity in place to monitor cellular companies’ traffic and real time access to ensure that tax deducted from customers are transparently deposited.

The Board has randomly conducted audit of some telecom companies but it requires forensic audit and needs technical expertise to ensure 100 percent transparency it is currently lacking, said an FBR official.

The committee also expressed serious concerns over heavy taxation on telecom sector and urged for rationalisation.

The minister said that tax on broadband services was raised by provincial governments and the ministry urged them to withdraw. Accepting the demand, Punjab government has withdrawn taxes on broadband services, she added.

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