Pakistan News

Sindh proposes single tax on farm income

Sindh proposes single tax on farm income

KARACHI: The Board of Revenue (BoR), Sindh, has proposed replacing over a dozen farm taxes with a single provincial tax for agriculture income, as part of land record computerisation project.

By implementing the modern tax assessment system based on digitalised record of farm lands, the BoR aims to boost agriculture income tax to Rs4.4 billion from Rs606 million collected during 2013-14, and minimise human intervention to eliminate corruption.

The BoR collected Rs449m in FY13, Rs301m in FY12, Rs474m in FY11 and Rs558m in FY10 in farm revenue.

Giving salient features of the computerised tax system, Member Reforms BOR Zulfiqar Ali Shah said on Friday that it is aimed at evolving a single provincial tax replacing the concept of separate tax assessment for Rabi and Kharif crops. The system would ensure direct tax deposits in banks instead of the existing system of payment to Mukhtiarkars in every district.

Shah said the Rs4.9bn land record computerisation project, now nearing completion, has digitalised 90 per cent record of farm lands in the province.

Three service centres have been established in Hydera­bad, Jamshoro and Tando Mohammad Khan with the facility to provide land record of any district in the province. Moreover, eight centres are ready to become operational soon, while the remaining 16 service centres will start working by December.

The software being used in the digitalisation project has been designed in Sindhi as the original land record consisting of 15m pages available with Mukhtiarkars was in the same language.

The data of digitalised land record reveals that the farm area in the province consists of 10m acres which yields only 600m in farm tax revenue as the current tax collection system is rampant with revenue leakages.

The BoR has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Sindh Bank under which land record of last five years of any district could be obtained from more than 220 branches of the bank all over the country.

The board also plans to computerise tax collection system for stamp duty and registration of properties which is the main source of tax revenue.

The digitalised land record project would also cut huge delays in issuance of microfilmed certificate of registration, which takes over six months at present. The digital scanning of the land transaction certificate will ensure delivery of certificates in 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2015

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