Navigating Input Tax Adjustments: A Guide for Businesses Under the Sales Tax Act

The Sales Tax Act plays a crucial role in regulating tax collection for businesses in Pakistan. This article focuses on a specific provision within the Act – that deals with limitations on adjusting input tax for registered businesses.

What is Input Tax?

Input tax refers to the Sales Tax a business pays on its purchases, such as raw materials, equipment, and other supplies used for taxable sales. Businesses are generally entitled to deduct this input tax from the total Sales Tax they collect on their final sales (output tax).

The 90% Rule:

Section 16C(1) introduces a restriction on input tax adjustments. It states that a registered business cannot adjust (deduct) input tax exceeding 90% of its output tax for a specific tax period. In simpler terms, a business can only claim a maximum of 90% of its input tax paid as a deduction against its total output tax liability.

Impact on Businesses:

This restriction aims to prevent businesses from inflating input tax claims to reduce their overall tax liability. However, it can pose challenges for businesses with high input tax costs relative to their output tax.

Exceptions to the Rule:

Section 16C(2) empowers the authorities to exclude specific businesses or categories of businesses from this 90% limit through a notification published in the official government gazette. This provides some flexibility for businesses that might be significantly impacted by the rule.

What Businesses Should Do:

  • Maintain Accurate Records: Businesses should meticulously document all input tax invoices and ensure proper bookkeeping practices. This helps demonstrate legitimate input tax claims during tax audits.
  • Monitor Tax Liabilities: Regularly calculate and monitor potential output and input tax liabilities throughout the tax period. This allows for proactive tax planning and ensures businesses stay within the 90% limit.


Understanding the 90% rule on input tax adjustments is crucial for registered businesses under the Sales Tax Act. By maintaining accurate records, monitoring tax liabilities, and potentially seeking professional advice, businesses can ensure they comply with regulations while optimizing their tax positions within the legal framework.

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