Sales Tax was a provincial subject at the time of partition. It was being administered in the provinces of Punjab & Sindh as provincial levy. Sales tax was declared a federal subject in 1948 through the enactment of General Sales Tax Act, 1948 and in 1952, this levy was transferred permanently to the Central Government. Sales tax was levied at the standard rate of 6 pies per rupee at every stage whenever a sale was effected. The trading community protested against this system, and this resulted in the enactment of Sales Tax Act 1951.
A system of licensed manufacturers & wholesalers was instituted whereby they were allowed to purchase goods free of sales tax from each other and pay tax on sales to unlicensed traders. Imports were chargeable to Sales Tax but the licensed manufacturers & wholesalers were allowed to import goods without the payment of Sales Tax. Later on Sales Tax became chargeable on locally produced & imported goods at the time of their sales & import, respectively. The sales tax, was collected under the Finance Ordinance, 1956, on goods which were chargeable to Central Excise Duty, as if it were a duty of Central Excise. In April 1981, by virtue of an amendment in the Sales Tax act, 1951, the collection of Sales Tax on non-excisable goods was also entrusted to the Central Excise Department.
In the late eighties the government decided to replace Sales Tax with the Value Added Tax in the country as a part of its structural adjustment program which was undertaken to correct anomalies & distortions both in our tax & non-tax regimes. Accordingly new enactment titled Sales Tax Act 1990 replaced Sales Tax Act 1951 with effect from 1-11-1990.
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