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Taxation
The Board-in-Council of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Friday reviewed progress on the implementation of the track and trace system for tobacco products and analysis of sector specialist on the said project. The Board-in-Council meeting was chaired by FBR Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan here at the FBR House on Friday.

The FBR also examined the request of the Balochistan Revenue Authority to the FBR for designing an automated system for the provincial revenue authority. The observations of the project director were discussed during the meeting. Sources said that the project director informed the FBR that for effective implementation of the track and trace system for tobacco products, the FBR should issue the draft invitation of licensing (IFL) and draft of the Licensing Rules 2019.

The Board-in-Council also decided that the Law and Justice Division should do vetting of the draft of the Licensing Rules 2019. According to sources, accompany, consortium or joint venture must have minimum annual turnover of $50 million in any of last three years or financial worth of US $25 million to qualify for seeking licence in Pakistan to provide technological solutions for high security tax stamps and electronic monitoring/tracking system for tobacco products, beverages, sugar, fertilizer and cement.

No company shall carry out electronic monitoring, tracking or tracing of specified goods unless it has obtained a licence. The FBR will set up a licensing committee which shall function in accordance with the provisions of these rules. Project director, Track and Trace System, shall be the convener of the licensing committee and its headquarters shall be located at FBR House, Islamabad.According to criteria specified by the FBR for grant of a licence, the applicant (any company or consortium or joint venture) shall be required to provide technological solutions for the high security tax stamps and related electronic monitoring and tracking system tailored for Pakistani needs on real time basis.

The applicant shall possess the following qualifications to be considered for issuance of licence:

It shall be a company duly incorporated under the Companies Act, 2017. It shall have experience and past performance in electronic monitoring, tracking and tracing of tobacco products, beverages, medicines, petroleum, etc, preferably in multiple countries.

It shall be in a financial position to undertake the project, minimum annual turnover of US $50 million, in any of last three years or financial worth of US $25 million and it shall have appropriate managerial capacity to execute and run the project.

The Track and Trace System should include following control functionalities at several level like advanced authentication of all the different profiles on the system (login and password); control of activation in the manufacturing plants and control of controller activity and planning of inspection tours.The system-based solution offered by the applicant shall be able to perform the following functions including monitoring capability on real-time basis of a minimum 50 factory premises or production lines; tracing and tracking of specified goods throughout the country from factory premises to retail level on real time basis; the ability to configure the tracking unit remotely; the system must be capable of sending alert messages and trigger alarms (visible and audible) in case of occurrence of abnormal events such as unauthorised stoppages of production, tampering with stamping machines, etc.

The applicant shall also submit a complete list of operations and maintenance required to operate the system based solution. The applicant shall specify the expected delivery and implementation time, which shall not exceed six months from the date of issuance of licence. The applicant shall also undertake to meet these timelines, the FBR added.
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Business

WASHINGTON: The US auto safety agency is probing reports of potential unintended braking in 675,000 2017-2018 Nissan Motor Co Ltd Rogue vehicles, it said on Friday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is opening a defect petition review in response to a request by the Center for Auto Safety.

The agency will look at reports of the vehicles’ automatic emergency braking system engaging with no apparent obstruction in the vehicle’s path. There are no reports of injuries or deaths associated with the petition.

Nissan said it had investigated the issue extensively and after talks with NHTSA, as well as its Canadian counterpart, Transport Canada, it had notified all affected Rogue vehicle customers in the United States and Canada of a software update.

“As always, Nissan will continue to work collaboratively with NHTSA and Transport Canada on all matters of product safety,” Nissan said in a statement.

Nissan faces a class-action lawsuit over unintended braking issues in US District Court in California covering Nissan and Infiniti vehicles sold since 2015. The suit says a defect can trigger the brakes and cause vehicles “to abruptly slow down or come to a complete stop in the middle of traffic.”

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Taxation
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has detected massive sales tax discrepancies to the tune of Rs 7.498 billion in 6,077 cases and directed field formations to immediately process these cases through Integrated Tax Management System (ITMS) for recovery of the evaded amount.

According to the FBR’s instructions to the chief commissioners of Large Taxpayer Units (LTUs) and Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) here on Friday, the information received from project director (Crest), Lahore informs about number of CREST cases still have not been assigned jurisdiction in ITMS. Resultantly, these cases remain unattended.

It is, therefore, requested that jurisdiction of such cases of registered persons may be immediately be assigned in ITMS, so that the concerned officer may view such cases through his ITMS login and may process the case to recover the evaded amount of sales tax . Reportedly, the amount of sales tax involved in these 6,077 cases is over Rs 7.498 billions, the FBR instructions said.

There are number of CREST cases that have not been assigned jurisdiction in ITMS. CREAT project director has required FBR that jurisdiction of such cases/registered persons may be set in ITMS so that the concerned officer may view such cases through his ITMS login and may process the case to recover the evaded amount of sales tax. Therefore, it is requested that concerned technical resource may be directed to do the needful in this regard, the CREST project director added.When contacted, a tax expert said out of total detected amount of Rs 7,498 million, Lahore taxpayer amount is Rs 3,291 million (16 taxpayers); Karachi amount is Rs 3,038 million (4,089 taxpayers) and rest of the amount is Rs 1,169 million (1,972 taxpayers).

Now, the FBR vide Circular C.No.1(89)STM/2018, dated 10 April 2019, has directed to assign unattended jurisdiction cases of CREST to Integrated Tax Management System (ITMS) in order to facilitate the concerned officer against tax evasion.
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Taxation
The Amazon-Walmart battle for retail supremacy veered into a trash-talk phase on Thursday over worker pay and alleged tax shirking. Amazon was the provocateur of the latest dustup, which comes as the two companies battle increasingly hard for retail market share.

In his annual shareholder letter, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos baited his rivals – who were not named – to match a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour. “We had always offered competitive wages. But we decided it was time to lead – to offer wages that went beyond competitive,” Bezos said.

“Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage. Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.” Walmart’s retort came from Executive Vice President Dan Bartlett, who was somewhat less coy about target of his dig.

Bartlett tweeted a link to a Yahoo Finance article picturing Bezos that cited a report from an NGO that said Amazon paid no taxes on its 2018 profit of $11.2 billion. “Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?” Bartlett wrote, adding in a separate tweet that most Walmart warehouse associates have made more than $15 “for a long time.”
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