SHC declares super tax intra vires

KARACHI: An appellate bench of High Court of Sindh comprising Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbassi and Justice Abdul Malik Gaddi declared super tax as intra vires of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 while dismissing more than 200 constitutional petitions and equal number of suits.

Super tax was imposed on income of banking companies and persons having income equal to or exceeding Rs 500 million at the rate of 4 and 3 per cent respectively by inserting  section 4B of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through Finance Act 2015. The bench discussing the legislative competence of the federal government to impose the new tax held that while imposing the new tax, an entire, distinct mechanism for assessment, collectionand recovery of super tax has been provided within the newly inserted section.

The bench further held that it is neither a double taxation as contended by the counsel for petitioners/plaintiffs and neither it is discriminatory. The super tax possess the characteristics of a tax, for being a compulsory extraction of money by public authority for the purpose of general revenue, whereas the amount of tax so charged goes to Federal Consolidated Fund, therefore rightly introduced¬† under Article 73(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan hence “intra-vires” to the Constitution, the bench held.

Proceeding further the bench said that It is regretted to observe that imposition of taxes inour country is considered merely as a source to collect money and not as a tool to regulate and to make the National Economy documented in such a manner that large number of persons being benefitted from the National economy shall contribute by paying taxes in equal proportion to meet the expenditure of the Government and for the development of economy regular basis. It is equally regretted to observe that instead of making efforts for broadening the tax base and bringing the most effluent persons of the society into tax net, small number of existing tax payers mostly the salaried persons are being burdened with additional amount as taxes on income, the bench said while remarking that this may result in allowing a huge segment of the economy to flourish disproportionately without paying any tax or to contribute to national economy as per their due share.

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