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Medical fraternity rejects PRA sales tax

LAHORE: Different doctors’ organizations have rejected the sales tax imposed by the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) on the services provided by medical practitioners and medical specialists, terming the decision as an injustice towards patients.

Secretary-General, Pakistan Medical Association (Centre), Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, informed that the Punjab Revenue Authority had imposed a 5% sales tax on medical services provided by medical practitioners in the Punjab province. This would further increase the burden of diseases in society as no quality medical facilities are available in government-run hospitals.

He said this decision is an injustice to the people of Punjab as health facilities are already very costly in the province. He informed that no quality drugs or surgical treatment facilities are available in government-run health facilities.

Dr Qaiser Sajjad proceeded to add that the PRA has imposed an added burden on the poor masses by imposing a sales tax on medical services. He said that no doctor would pay the sales tax from his pocket, and ultimately, the patient will suffer. Doctors and hospitals owners were already paying taxes to the government. The Punjab government had increased service charges in the recent past. An added sales tax will only make it worse for them to afford treatment of any sort, he added.

He urged the Punjab government to withdraw the sales tax on service charges on an urgent basis to provide relief to masses. He feared that Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, and Baluchistan, would also impose a sales tax in their respective provinces if the decision were not revised at its earliest.

According to a notification, the services provided by medical practitioners and medical specialists are to charge a 5% sales tax under an amendment made in the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012 through the Punjab Finance Act 2019.

Taxable services apply to the following:

  • Medical consultant visiting fee exceeding Rs1500 per consultation visit of doctor, medical practitioners, and medical specialists
  • Bed/room charges of hospitals exceeding Rs6000 per day bed/room

The person providing the services mentioned above are required to get them registered with the PRA and deposit the Punjab Sales Tax by filing their returns on the web-portal for taxable services provided or rendered. The relevant Head of Accounts of the Punjab Government wherein the Punjab Sales tax to be deposited is “B02385″ –Sales on services collected on behalf of the provincial government.”

The PRA will appreciate it if doctors fulfill the mandatory requirements by getting themselves enrolled/registered under section 25 of the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act 2012 and return on the due date of every month along with the payment of due Punjab Sales tax regularly.

President, Pakistan Dental Association (PDA –Centre), Dr Mehmood Shah said that the Punjab government should consult with the PMA, PDA, and other doctors organizations before introducing a new sales tax on service charges in the province.

He said that the new tax would put an extra burden on the poor patients and their families in the province adding that the doctors of Pakistan are already paying income, professional, sales, and other taxes to the government.

He said that the provincial government should realize the financial problems of the public before introducing such taxes.

Vice-President, Young Doctors Association (YDA), Sindh, Dr Waris Ali Jakhrani, said that the Punjab Government should announce a subsidy on medical facilities to give the masses relief instead of imposing a new sales tax.

He said that treatment facilities are already very costly exceeding the affordability of the poor masses, but the Punjab Revenue Authority has imposed a sales tax on services. He said that the YDA strongly rejects the provincial government’s decision, and such charges should be withdrawn in the better interest of the public.        

September 4, 2019

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