In May 2015, the Punjab government took the step of imposing Internet tax, and despite lots of protests there is still no official notification that Punjab government is likely to reverse the tax.
Dr Ayesha Ghaus, Finance Minister Punjab, earlier in her budget speech announced the reversal of internet tax that was imposed by Punjab government in May 2015. Even after a month there is no official statement issued.
Also read: Govt to Impose 14% Internet Tax in Pakistan
On internet services including DSL, WiMAX, EVDO, 3G and 4G, Punjab Government had imposed a GST of 19.5% although finance minister Punjab has announced that there will be no tax imposed on the internet by her government.
During her speech, she said explicitly:
“Mr. Speaker I want to share the good news now, particularly for the education sector, businesses, and individuals. Despite other provinces are taxing internet services, Punjab Cabinet decided today morning that Punjab will not impose any taxes on internet services.
The notification that was issued earlier will be withdrawn.”
Check out the video of the budget speech below (the above statement comes at 54:16 Minutes)
It has been a month since the announcement to reverse the internet tax imposed was made on the grounds of Provincial house; however, Punjab Revenue Authority is yet to reverse the tax.
If this is the situation and the tax imposed has not yet been reversed, then it is a shocking news for Mobile phone companies and ISP’s as they had not yet collected taxes from customers but they will have to pay the taxes to Punjab Govt.
On July 21st 2015, the next cycle for the submission of taxes to provinces is due
According to the sources, a CCO of a mobile company said:
“There is nothing much you can do about a person who had clearly announced the reversal of internet taxes, but then she retracted from the stance altogether”
An ISP also shared his views on this issue who had to pay the taxes from his own pocket as he didn’t collect it from customers: “While article 62 and 63 can be invoked as it’s a blatant lie spoken on the floor of the house, but then it’s a shame that we have to move courts to remind the politicians of their statements. It’s a shame that we are ruled by such incompetent, fraud and unethical people”
If Punjab government is unable to provide any further notification then mobile phone companies will have to charge their customers 19.5% tax.
In case the government doesn’t put a further light on this issue then a usual internet bill of Rs1000 will become Rs. 1,195. Moreover, the federal government is also there that has imposed a 14% WHT thus making a Rs.1000 internet bill to Rs. 1,335 (GST = Rs. 195 and WHT = Rs. 140)
Do you think Punjab government has taken the right step to impose the tax on the internet? Let us know your views in the comments below