Customs to levy 22-30 percent tax on import of mobile devices by mid-February

The customs department will begin collecting at least 22 to 30 percent duty/taxes on the imports of mobile devices as the PTA plans only compliant mobile devices business in the country. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) with the approval of the federal cabinet launched the Devices Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) to ensure the sale, purchase and provision of mobile communication services to compliant mobile devices only.

Consequently, all type approval holders /authorized distributors/ original equipment manufacturer (OEM)/ original design manufacturer (ODM) and mobile network operators (MNOs) are required to ensure that non-compliant devices are not imported, sold, marketed or connected with the network of mobile operators. The devices with SIM/IMEI functionality which are type approved or having certification of compliance (CoC) to technical standards to IMEI devices issued by the PTA are the compliant mobile devices.

At present, mobile devices are brought into the country either through commercial imports and imported by individuals in accompanied baggage/ courier or brought in illegally by through smuggling. However, only the commercial imports of mobile devices are regulated.

The customs department has now formulated procedures and issued tariffs to allow import of mobile devices brought in by individuals for their personal use in accompanied baggage or through couriers or mobile devices brought in through informal channels and available in the local market.

According to Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) 8517.1219, which will be applicable by mid of February, the customs department will collect Rs 250 customs/regulatory duty (RD) per cell phones, having value up to US$ 60, which is 3 percent of the total value.

Similarly, 10 percent RD will be charged on the cell phones having value above US$60 up to US$130 and 20 percent duty on above US$130 value. The sales tax amounting Rs 650 will be collected for low and medium price cell phone and Rs 1500 on smart or satellite phones besides 3 percent advance sales tax.

The customs department will also charge 6 percent advance income tax from filers and 9 percent from non-filers against the mobile devices brought into the country either through commercial imports or imported by individuals. The mobile handset levy will also be collected under three different tariff slabs: Rs 1000 per set will be charged where value, including duty/taxes of cell phones is Rs 10000 to 40,000, Rs 3000/set for the cell phones valuing over Rs 40000 to Rs 80000, inclusive of all taxes. Rupees 5000/set will be paid on the import of cell phone having value, including duty/taxes exceeds Rs 80000.

Replying to a question, customs officials said that traveller is allowed to bring one mobile phone without payment of duty and taxes provided his/her stay abroad was more than seven days and this benefit would only be admissible once during the year. Duty and taxes would be charged in case of more than one mobile phone.

He further said that counter had been established at airport for registration of cell phones where customs department would also collect applicable duty and taxes. Traveller may also approach the nearest customs office for registration of mobile devices within 15 days of the arrival date.