Caught in the Web – SRO 350 (Balance Sheet) Delays Sales Tax Filing for Businesses

Taxpayers Face Hurdles After SRO 350 Implementation

The Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) recent amendments to the Sales Tax Rules, introduced through SRO 350, aim to address the issue of sales tax fraud. While these measures are well-intentioned, they’ve created significant hurdles for taxpayers trying to file their sales tax returns electronically.

Key Changes and Challenges:

  • Mandatory Business Capital Details: New and existing businesses, including importers, exporters, retailers, wholesalers, and distributors, must submit detailed information about their business capital.
  • Annual Biometric Re-verification: All registered individuals must undergo annual biometric re-verification, adding an extra step to the process.
  • Pre-verification for New Registrations: Fresh sales tax registrations now require pre-verification, potentially delaying the registration process.

While these changes aim to strengthen the FBR’s control over sales tax collection and prevent fraudulent invoice usage, they’ve caused unintended consequences:

  • Delayed Return Acceptance: Taxpayers cannot file their returns until their suppliers have filed theirs, creating a chain reaction of delays.
  • Recomputed Tax After Deadline: If a supplier’s return is missing or incorrect, taxpayers face the hassle of recomputing their sales tax after the deadline, deleting purchase invoices and input tax.
  • Lack of Consultation: Tax experts criticize the FBR for not consulting stakeholders before implementing these changes.

Impact on Tax Filing:

The sequential process, where suppliers need to file first, wholesalers need balance sheet approval, and then taxpayers can finally file, raises concerns about a potential decrease in tax filers. This could hinder the FBR’s overall tax collection efforts.

Recommendations and the Way Forward:

  • Collaborative Approach: Tax experts urge the FBR to work collaboratively with the business community to find solutions that balance compliance with ease of filing.
  • Review and Improvement: A review and potential revision of SRO 350 might be necessary to address the challenges faced by taxpayers.
  • Clear Communication: The FBR should clearly communicate any changes or amendments to tax rules and regulations to ensure a smooth transition for taxpayers.

Frequently Asked Questions:


While the FBR’s efforts to curb tax evasion are commendable, a balanced approach is crucial. By addressing the concerns raised by taxpayers, the FBR can ensure a more efficient and user-friendly tax filing system that promotes compliance without creating unnecessary hurdles.

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