(Update) – The latest on this is that there is still no light at the end of the tunnel for vintage-classic car importers. Their cars are still languishing at Karachi Port. They have therefore sued the government and the case is currently sub-judice in the Lahore High Court.
In a tax writ 2062/19 Shah Zaman Vs. The Collector, etc., the appellants (importers) are asking for the implementation of S.R.O 833(1)/2018. It is worth reminding our readers that this S.R.O was issued as a result of amendments in the Import and Export Policy Order 2016, in the last days of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s government. This is perhaps one of the reasons that the current government is reluctant in implementing it.
The current government has heavily taxed automobile consumers – the recent increase in the prices of Honda Civic and Toyota Grande are one of the prime examples of the government further squeezing automobile consumers. The sales of vehicles have, as a result, declined in the past few months.
It is advised that the government either ratifies the decisions takes by the last government, including S.R.O. 833(1)/2018, or issue a new S.R.O. specifically for the import of vintage-classic vehicles. Either way, this matter should be dealt at the administrative level rather than in the court of law.
On July 3rd, 2018, Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs, Statistics, and Revenue issued an SRO 833(1)/2018, under which they allowed the import of vintage or classics cars and exempt them from hefty taxes including customs duty, regulatory duty, additional customs duty, Federal excise duty, sales tax, and withholding tax. Moreover, the Federal government fixed the import rate at $5000.
According to this SRO, the vehicles manufactured prior to the 1st January 1968 will qualify for this exemption. However, recently, it has come to notice that many cars are stuck at the port and the people are facing difficulty in getting clearance from the customs.
According to the CEO Jumbo Clearing Agency – Arghan, the government did issue the SRO but did not define any procedure regarding the scheme under which the car can be imported and how the remittance will be made. So, this has been pending since July and no amendments have been made yet. Therefore, unless these things don’t get defined, people will have to wait for their cars to get clearance from the port.
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