The Supreme Court of Pakistan has asked the federal and provincial government to provide details of the taxes collected on mobile phones over the past year.
The two-member supreme court bench, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard the case regarding the taxes charged by cellular service providers. Last year in June, the Supreme Court suspended the deduction of taxes on prepaid cards provided by mobile phone service providers. At this matter, the Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor who was representing the Punjab Government opposed the court’s decision and said that the matter did not fall under the categories involving fundamental rights and human interest. He also said that the SC should not have intervened in this matter.
Justice Esa said, “I believe the case does come under the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction under Article 184(3)”.
Anwar Masood said that due to the suspension order government was unable to collect Rs. 80 billion in tax revenue. Justice Ejazul Ahsan also gave his remarks during the proceeding, he said, how will the government decide who should pay tax and who shouldn’t. He said that why would a vendor, laborer, plumber or barber pay tax on mobile phones when he or she is not even eligible to pay them.
He also said that why a person who is not eligible to pay tax and excluded from the criteria, would pay the taxes applied on cellular services. A lawyer representing the service providers said that the companies had removed the 10% tax collected on the cellular services according to the court orders.
It was reported last month, that the government is preparing a new tax formula which it will present in front of the Supreme Court, to cover the revenue shortfall and meet the target of tax collection for this year.
Justice Isa sent the case to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for consideration after saying that a three-member bench should hear this case as they did before.