Update: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has shared that Islamabad-based restaurants have committed tax evasion of billions of Rupees. As a result of this, the Islamabad Restaurants Association (IRA) has asked all eateries to go on strike.
Reportedly, more than 250 cafes and eating-joint were asked to boycott in a protest which was to be held on 23rd April, however, it got called off.
There was a meeting held with Minister of State for Revenue Mohammad Hammad Azhar and IRA representatives in which it was decided that the IRA will no longer go ahead with the strike.
Khuwaja Junaid, one of the members present at the meeting told Dawn that the atmosphere seemed positive and that the Minister is keen on looking into the matter.
He assured the members that action would not be taken against restaurants which had cooperated and installed RIMS. Moreover, he principally agreed that in case of any grievance or complaint, the association would be contacted instead of directly raiding restaurants.
It has been decided that we will hold a meeting with member operations of the FBR on Monday on the board’s premises, and after getting a satisfactory reply, officially announce to call off the strike -Mr Junaid said
IRA has circulated a new notice in which it has stated that the meeting with the minister has remained successful and the protest has officially been called off.
The minister agreed with IRA’s stance that FBR should concentrate its efforts towards bringing new restaurants into the tax net and not put further pressure on restaurants which are already correctly invoicing through RIMS and paying their taxes.
IRA also assured that in future all the FBR reservations will be taken care through the Joint Committee of FBR and IRA and any adverse action will be avoided. IRA looks forward to contributing positively in the development of Pakistan. Both the business community and FBR will work as partners towards the growth of the Pakistani economy. -The statement added
Previously, according to an anonymous IRA source, the FBR had approached the restaurant-owners and asked them to cooperate in the installation of the restaurant invoice monitoring system (RIMS) last year.
Although there are around 3,000 restaurants in the capital, members of our association agreed and allowed for RIMS to be installed. The FBR praised us and gave us certificates saying we were cooperating, and we were informed that section 40-B would not be imposed on us -the source said to Dawn
He further on shared that the FBR officials raided the restaurants without any prior notice this week and started to sit at the counters as well.
We have no choice but to close our restaurants, as we have been humiliated and treated like thieves.
Our margins are being squeezed day by day and it is visible on the RIMS, but the FBR believes that we have been trying to avoid the 17pc general sales tax (GST) and has been issuing notices to us.
The fact is that people have stopped visiting restaurants because their income and their financial position has suffered due to the devaluation of the rupee -he shared
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