Understanding Sales Tax in Pakistan: A Comprehensive Guide

Sales tax is a critical component of the Pakistani tax system. It is an indirect tax that is charged on the sale of goods and services within the country. Sales tax is collected by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and is levied under the Sales Tax Act, 1990. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding sales tax in Pakistan.

What is Sales Tax?

Sales tax is a tax charged on the sale of goods and services. It is an indirect tax, which means that it is not directly paid by the consumer but is included in the price of the product or service. The sales tax is collected by the seller of the goods or services and then paid to the government.

Sales Tax in Pakistan:

Sales tax in Pakistan is levied under the Sales Tax Act, 1990. The tax is collected by the FBR, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the sales tax laws in the country. The current rate of sales tax in Pakistan is 17%, which is charged on the value of goods and services sold.

Registration for Sales Tax:

Any person or business that sells taxable goods or services in Pakistan is required to register for sales tax. The registration process involves filling out a registration form and submitting it to the FBR. Once the registration is approved, the seller is issued a Sales Tax Registration Number (STRN), which is used for all sales tax-related transactions.

Exemptions and Zero Rating:

Certain goods and services are exempt from sales tax in Pakistan. These include basic food items, healthcare services, educational services, and certain agricultural products. Additionally, some goods and services are subject to zero-rating, which means that they are taxable, but the tax rate is set at zero percent. Examples of zero-rated goods and services include exports, international transport services, and the supply of machinery to the agriculture sector.

Sales Tax Return:

Registered sellers are required to file a sales tax return with the FBR. The return provides details of the taxable goods and services sold during the reporting period and the amount of sales tax collected. The return must be filed on a monthly basis, and any sales tax collected must be paid to the government within the specified deadline.

Penalties for Non-Compliance:

Non-compliance with sales tax laws in Pakistan can result in severe penalties. These can include fines, imprisonment, and the suspension or cancellation of the sales tax registration. Additionally, the FBR can issue show-cause notices and conduct audits to ensure compliance with sales tax laws.


Sales tax is an important component of the Pakistani tax system. Understanding the basics of sales tax is essential for individuals and businesses that sell taxable goods or services within the country. By registering for sales tax, filing accurate sales tax returns, and complying with sales tax laws, sellers can avoid penalties and contribute to the development of the country.

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