45 big retailers issued notices to submit import papers
KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has asked the city's big retailers to furnish documents of proof related to imported goods on sale at their stores after ongoing anti-smuggling surveys, The News reported. FBR issued notices to at least 45 retailers, seeking verification of customs clearance against the imported goods. Country’s markets are flooded with smuggled goods. The policies of the PTI government such as imposition of higher duties and other restrictions discouraged legal imports. Most of the goods that were legally imported earlier, are now being smuggled. Regional Tax Office (RTO)-II, Karachi issued the notices in its ongoing campaign against smuggled goods. The tax office launched physical survey of shopping plazas and markets in posh areas a month ago. Teams conducted survey of big retailers having their outlets in major shopping centres and plazas, including Ocean Mall, Dolmen Mall, Emerald, Forum and other mega marts located in Defence and Clifton. Several big retail chains including Imtiaz and Chase are also importers. An official said marts and stores offering big discounts were selling either smuggled goods or counterfeit products. The FBR teams inspected imported products, including garments, cosmetics, watches, toys, gift items, batteries, cigar, leather goods, and designer bags. 45 big retails failed to provide proof of customs clearance to the survey teams. In August this year, the FBR decided to launch monitoring of the presence of smuggled goods in main shopping markets across the country. It was also decided to launch the monitoring by joint teams of Inland Revenue and Pakistan Customs. Ongoing survey for availability of smuggled goods in major markets had been conducted against big retailers, also known as tier-I retailers. A tier-I retailer has been defined under Sales Tax Act 1990 as a retailer who operates as a unit of a national or international chain of stores and in an air-conditioned shopping mall, plaza or centre, excluding kiosks. Those whose cumulative electricity bill during the immediately preceding 12 consecutive months exceeds Rs600,000 or a wholesaler-cum-retailer who’s engaged in bulk import and supply of consumer goods on wholesale basis to the retailers as well as on retail basis to the general body of the consumers. Small retailers have not been included in the latest survey because of ongoing negotiations of the FBR with them on the issue of registration. Big retailers were asked to provide details of suppliers / importers or customs clearance in case of direct imports. In case of failure in providing documents, the FBR would initiate penal action against the defaulters.