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The news item captioned “FBR opens doors to corruption” published in a section of the press today on 04th of July, 2014 is not factually correct. Referring to SRO 608(I)/2014 dated 26.06.2014, it has been wrongly stated that Commissioners of Inland Revenue have been given extra discretionary powers.
The actual facts are that in accordance with the government’s policy to phase out the SRO regime, many concessions in existing SROs were either withdrawn or reduced in the Budget 2014-15. However, a limited number of concessions were continued due to their essential or socially sensitive nature, by way of transposition into the Fifth or Sixth Schedules to the Sales Tax Act, 1990. Since SRO 670(I)/2013 dated 18.07.2013 granted conditional zero-rating on sensitive items like milk, milk products, stationery items and bicycles, the government decided to continue the concession. This was done by transposing the Table of the SRO into the Fifth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990, while the conditions for availing zero-rating were incorporated into the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2007 through SRO 608(I)/2014.
It is therefore, clarified that no new discretionary powers have been granted to the Commissioners through SRO 608(I)/2014, but only the procedure and conditions already existing in SRO 670(I)/2013 were transposed into the Sales Tax Special Procedure Rules, 2007 through SRO 608(I)/2014.