Customs win cigarette filter ST exemption case

KARACHI: A full bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Faisal Arab allowed an appeal filed by Pakistan Customs in cigarette filter case.

According to details Filter Pakistan Private Limited and other companies were importing filters of textile for cigarettes. They sought exemption under SRO 509 of 2007 from 16 per cent Sales Tax.

The customs appraisement refused exemption after which matter was referred to then Deputy Collector Wahid Bux who passed an Order in Original in favour of appellant Filter Pakistan. Another DC Wasif Memon re-opened the case and a demand of rupees 87 million was raised by the custom department in respect of 80 consignments. The order was appealed before the High Court of Sindh which upheld earlier order/ONO against which customs department filed a leave to appeal through Senior Advocate Supreme Court Raja Muhammad Iqbal which was granted by the apex court in the year 2011.

The goods were released as per SRO 509 from which respondent/petitioners/importers benefited from 16 per cent sales tax.

The case was finally decided by the apex court in previous week and appeal was allowed after hearing ASC Raja Muhammad Iqbal and counsel for petitioners. As a result, the customs department can now raise demands against goods released in the intervening period which runs into billions now.

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