PRA registers 41.6pc growth in H1FY21

LAHORE: The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) collected Rs73.7 billion from July to December 2020 (H1FY21), registering a growth of 41.6 per cent as compared to Rs52.1 billion collected in the first half of the previous financial year (H1FY20).

According to a PRA spokesperson, “This performance is all the more remarkable in view of the unprecedented tax relief package given by the Punjab government through the Finance Act, 2020, wherein the rate of Punjab Sales Tax on Services (PSTS) on more than 25 services was reduced to support Covid-affected sectors, boost compliance and encourage documentation.”

The spokesperson added that the provincial government reduced the rate of PSTS from 16 per cent to 5 per cent for various sectors that were affected by the outbreak of Covid-19, including marriage halls and lawns, small hotels, caterers, tour operators, rent-a-car services, photographers, gyms and manpower recruitment services.

“In addition, the rate of PSTS on health insurance, medical consultancy and hospital charges was reduced to 0 per cent to cut the cost of healthcare for the public.

The spokesperson further added that the government also reduced the rate of sales tax on restaurant and beauty parlour services from 16 per cent to 5 per cent in case of payment through credit and debit cards.

“This widely appreciated move was aimed at promoting documentation of the economy and has started to pay dividends as the proportion of customers using cards for payment is on the rise. The government also gave major tax relief to sectors considered crucial for economic growth,” she said, adding that the rate of sales tax on property builders and developers was reduced from 16 per cent ad valorem to Rs100/sq. yard and Rs50/sq. ft. for land developers and builders, respectively.

“The rate was also reduced to 5 per cent for information technology services to encourage e-commerce and 4 per cent for ride-hailing services.”
Further, PRA’s performance is a vindication of its policy of minimum human interaction, reliance on information technology and creating a culture of cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders.
The spokesperson informed that during the first two quarters of the current fiscal year PRA did not resort to any coercive measures for tax collection such as sealing or business premises or attachment of bank accounts. Instead, following the government’s policy of stakeholder involvement, PRA relied on taxpayer facilitation and education.

In addition to meetings with various bars, chambers and associations, PRA uploaded guides on tax processes on its websites, established facilitation desks in PRA office in Lahore as well as Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), and conducted more than 50 workshops for taxpayers.

According to her, in order to further facilitate taxpayers, PRA launched TelPRA, an android-based mobile application that allows taxpayers to post feedback, suggestions, complaints and queries that are responded to by the PRA workforce.

PRA’s percentage growth for the first half of the financial year, 41.5 per cent, surpasses all other revenue authorities in the country, including FBR at 4.9 per cent, and SRB at 15.9 per cent.

Moreover, Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht also appreciated the PRA’s performance, stating that generating own source revenue remains a top priority for the government.
According to the PRA chairperson, the PRA team would achieve the assigned revenue target for the FY21 without a doubt.
Shahab Omer
Shahab Omer
The writer is a member of the staff and can be reached on [email protected]

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