Tax Exemption Withdrawn on Mobile Phones Brought by International Travelers

The government has decided to withdraw tax exemption on mobile phones brought by international travelers. Up until now, the government permitted international travelers to register on mobile phone with Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) without paying any taxes.

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But now as the baggage rule exemption has been withdrawn, the facility to register one phone on one passport without tax is to be removed soon. In order to generate more revenue, this decision has been taken. The aim is also to control the misuse of the baggage rule.

Once the government notification is issued, the international travelers would have to pay the taxes even if they bring one mobile phone.

A Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) press conference was held on budget 2019-2020. Member Inland Revenue and Policy, Dr. Hamid Ateeq disclosed that the baggage facility was being misused. Thus, it has been decided to withdraw this facility.

DIRBS, the new initiative by the government aims to control the smuggling of mobile phones. It has reportedly failed to achieve its desired purpose because of the legalization of smuggled phones through possible loopholes in the current airport system.

In violation of the FBR baggage rule law, data is being misused. User credentials like passport and CNIC are used to register phones under the baggage rule exemption.

It was also revealed by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) that passenger data leakage was used for illegal registration of mobile phones via DIBRS involving travel agents and available data at airports.

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