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GST Expected to Stay at 18%, Says Report


The standard rate of sales tax in the country is expected to hold steady at 18% for the upcoming fiscal year commencing on July 1, 2024, according to sources cited in a report by Business Recorder.

Amid discussions between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and top government decision-makers, a proposal to increase the sales tax rate from 18% to 19% was tabled but ultimately rejected.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reportedly opposed the suggestion to raise the standard sales tax rate, signaling a preference for maintaining the status quo.

The FBR had put forth a proposal for a 1% hike in the sales tax, anticipating that it would yield an additional Rs40-50 billion in revenue for the fiscal year 2024-25.

However, the Prime Minister opted against implementing this increase, expressing concerns over its potential inflationary repercussions on the general public.

Consequently, the decision has been made to retain the sales tax rate at 18% for the next fiscal year, foregoing the proposed increment to 19%.

This decision underscores the government’s cautious approach, balancing revenue generation with the need to mitigate the impact on consumers amidst prevailing economic challenges.

Maintaining the sales tax rate at the current level is likely aimed at ensuring stability in the business environment and consumer spending patterns.

It also reflects the government’s efforts to alleviate the burden on households already grappling with inflationary pressures and economic uncertainties.

As fiscal policies continue to evolve in response to changing economic conditions, decisions regarding taxation play a crucial role in shaping the country’s economic landscape.

With the decision to keep the sales tax rate unchanged, the government aims to strike a delicate balance between revenue generation and socioeconomic considerations in the coming fiscal year.

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