The National Board of Revenue will amend the existing VAT consultant appointment policy to remove the scarcity of the professionals in the country and make the service more effective.
The proposed amendment to the policy will also help the revenue board prevent misuse of the licence by the consultants who are important players in collection of value-added tax.
Officials of the revenue board said that the need for skilled VAT consultants had been growing in line with the expansion of the coverage of the indirect tax in the country.
But there was always a shortage of adequate manpower in the sector as the field as an independent profession did not grow enough over the years due to lack of attention by the tax authority, they said.
Qualified people also did not care about taking the VAT consultant as profession, they added.
Currently, there are 8.40 lakh business entities with business identification number (BIN) or are registered VATpayers in the country.
But there are only 72 VAT consultants in the country to provide services related to VAT to businesses while income-tax wing has 23,000 income-tax practitioners and the customs have 9,000 clearing and forwarding agents to support taxpayers, according to the NBR.
Half of existing VAT consultants is former VAT officials who got the licence under a provision of having at least 15 year work experience with the revenue board.
The remaining consultants got the licences following scrutiny.
The NBR would take written examination to provide licence to VAT consultants after amendment of the policy, said an official of the NBR.
Though most of the large businesses had salaried employees to look after the VAT issues, most of small and medium enterprises did not have ability to recruit employees for the purpose, he said.
So, a pool of skilled manpower for the sector was necessary to assist businesses in payment of VAT and filing VAT returns as the number of existing VAT consultants was negligible, he said.
He said that the number regular VAT return filing businesses started to increase due to NBR efforts to expand the VAT collection and implement the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act-2012.
The number of regular VAT returns submission by the businesses increased to 60,000 in the fiscal year 2017-2018 from some 32,000 in the previous FY 2016-2017.
The law is scheduled to come into force from July 2019.
Officials said that the VAT wing of the NBR had already formed a committee to compile the recommendations from its field offices and review the existing policy, which was framed in 1998 and has remained unchanged since.
The amended policy would also ensure compliance and accountability of VAT consultants, they said.
There are allegations that many middlemen and salaried VAT officials of businesses engaged in unfair practices and interferences in VAT related issues.
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