KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh has urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to immediately revisit the controversial SRO 350 (I)/ 2004 in consultation with stakeholders as it stands unresolved to date which has created a hotchpotch situation, resulting in triggering a lot of anxiety amongst the members of business community who have been constantly approaching KCCI for assistance.

In a letter sent, President KCCI requested Chairman FBR Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana to visit KCCI at the earliest so that this pressing issue could be amicably resolved. “If it isn’t possible to visit KCCI due to any other engagement in Islamabad, Chairman FBR must look into the possibility of urgently arranging an online meeting to discuss and resolve this serious matter.”

He said, “The worsening situation can be gauged from the fact that even the utility services providers in Karachi including SSGC and K-Electric were unable to timely file their Sales Tax returns because of the complications emerging out of SRO 350”, he added.

He noted that the SRO 350 establishes a critical link between buyers’ tax return filing and their suppliers’ compliance. This measure has triggered a concerning chain reaction, wherein non-compliance among suppliers threatens to disrupt the entire system. “Such a scenario could severely impact businesses across every tier of the supply chain, bringing operations to a standstill”, he added.

Furthermore, Iftikhar Sheikh said that the requirement outlined in SRO 350(I)/2024 for the submission of balance sheets, which could potentially contradict previously submitted details, and for record, the balance sheet could be examined from the tax returns data, thereby complicating compliance procedures which has raised significant concerns within the business fraternity due to its perceived complexity and potential disruptions.

He feared that further delay in receding SRO 350 would result in halting livestock, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and many other exports as the point from where the chain of exporting all these and many other products begins, there is no system of registration. In this scenario, it will be impossible to for filers to submit details about registered persons for Sales Tax returns.

The uncertainty and ambiguity regarding timely filing of sales tax returns along with unreasonable sales tax liabilities is really a big issue being faced by businesses and industries at an already difficult time, he added.