Despite earlier concerns by the IT minister, the IT industry at large, and repeated warnings that such measures are derailing the progress of the IT industry and will hinder Pakistan’s goal of taking its IT exports to $10 billion, the FBR has continued to send tax notices to the IT industry. The IT Minister has now once again spoken against the practice.
In a press conference held on Thursday, Syed Amin ul Haq expressed strong concern over the FBR’s tax notices sent to the IT industry in recent weeks. “I wanted to discuss an important matter with the media. Since the last few weeks, different tax notices are being sent by the FBR to the IT industry. The IT Ministry expresses strong concern over this matter, and we are in discussion with FBR’s officials regarding the issue because this is no way of doing things.”, he said.
Internet for All – Ensuring Connectivity & Broadband
Under the Prime Minister's vision of #DigitalPakistan, #MOITT through USF is taking all steps to provide enhanced #broadband services in the rural areas of Pakistan to help masses.@SyedAminulHaque @GovtofPakistan @USF_Pak pic.twitter.com/Td71URCwWM
— Ministry of IT & Telecom (@MoitOfficial) May 20, 2021
Syed Amin Ul Haq stressed that such measures by the tax authority undermine the direction of “Ease of doing business” undertaken by the government.
Earlier, the freelancing community in Pakistan began facing uncertainty about their future and became highly concerned about the FBR’s recent announcement of a crackdown on the IT industry and freelancers, as a part of which the tax notices are being sent. The move was a consequence of the government’s decision to eliminate the tax exemptions granted to the IT sector till 2025, which received flak from all major stakeholders, including the freelancing community.
The P@SHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITeS) expressed concern that the decision would negatively impact the IT exports growth trend while urging the Prime Minister to take immediate action and invite industry stakeholders to discuss our concerns. “We are afraid that such abrupt changes in tax policies would not only scare away new entrants/investors but would cause colossal damage to the growth trajectory of existing players.”, the association stated in a press release.
What the hell ? Freelancers should Boycott PTI Government forever , We are trying to bring Amazon to PayPal to crypto in Pakistan and @ImranKhanPTI blocking Freelancers earning ? https://t.co/Cl58EeUHhf
— Waqar Zaka (@ZakaWaqar) March 10, 2021
Some of the prominent IT experts, including Dr Umar Saif, also warned that tax exemptions would hamper Pakistan’s IT exports.
However, despite an earlier concern exhibited by the IT minister over the matter and assurance by the IT secretary who said that there is nothing to worry about as FBR targeted the freelancers, the FBR seems to have continued with its tax crusade.
Today, I’ve expressed deep concern over the FBR’s tax notices to the IT sector, as it’s confusing investors whose exports pave the way of stabilisation & remittances.
— Syed Aminul Haque (@SyedAminulHaque) March 31, 2021