The Federal Board of Revenue has launched a sales tax recovery drive against 44 shipbreakers. Enforcement provisions of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 have been invoked. Sources told Business Recorder on Friday that the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation Inland Revenue has provided the list of 44 registered ship breaking companies to the Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU) Karachi and Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) for the recovery of outstanding amount of sales tax.
The FBR has also provided names of shipbreakers, National Tax Numbers (NTNs), names of vessels and sales tax liability to the field formations for compliance. As per instructions of the agency to the LTU/RTOs, the list of 44 registered persons pertaining to the ship breaking sector, against whom sales tax is outstanding has been communicated for appropriate legal action under the Sales Tax Act, 1990 for the recovery of outstanding liability.
In this regard, the directorate has compiled two different lists of the registered shipbreakers. The first list of 44 registered persons is for the period of July 1, 2007 to June 1, 2012. The second list is from June 2, 2012 to December 29, 2012. The data revealed that out of Rs 13.917 billion outstanding amount for the period July 1, 2007 to June 1, 2012; Rs 13.136 billion has been paid by the ship breaking industry whereas the remaining amount of Rs 781 million is yet to be recovered. From June 2, 2012 to December 29, 2012, the balance sales tax liability of the shipbreakers has been worked out to around Rs 2 billion.
When contacted, a tax expert explained that many shipbreakers have allegedly evaded sales tax by not paying due tax as required under the Sales Tax Act, 1990. The procedure for revenue collection from shipbreakers is provided in Special Procedure Rules under which Sales Tax is leviable on breaking of ships instead of release at import stage. The 70.5 percent of the weight (tonnage) of ship/vessel determined at import stage is considered as ship plates. The Sales Tax liability presently is calculated @ Rs 4848 per ton of ship plate. When the ship/vessel is beached for breaking, the Sales Tax determined on the basis of above calculation is deferred and secured against post dated cheques in the concerned RTOs for subsequent encashment/payment of tax. The shipbreakers claim the credit of the payments in their sales tax returns. Reportedly these shipbreakers have not cleared their Sales Tax liability by abusing the self assessment system. The RTOs failed to monitor their liability. The procedural loopholes were abused by shipbreakers thus causing loss to the national exchequer, they added.
Source: business recorder. 25 January 2014