In a recent move the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has released a custom valuation of mobile phones. The mobile phones, on the basis of their brands, models and types, have been assigned custom values for the purpose of  duty/tax clearance. Only the custom value paid phones, henceforth, shall be regularized as per the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) guidelines.

A list of 186 mobile phones belonging to a range of different imported brands and categories has been issued by the Federal Board of Revenue for customs valuation and subsequent determination of duty and taxes. The highest custom valuation of $770 has been assigned to Samsung Galaxy Note-9 by the FBR. Announcing the FBR custom valuation of mobile phones, Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry asserted that Pakistan imports mobile phones worth $2 billion annually and it is not feasible to not tax such a major chunk of imports. The Minister insisted that country needs to embrace the taxation culture.

As per the scheme being put in operation, low-end smartphones which cost about $50 will have a small tax value, however, the ones with a heavy price tag will be taxed by as much as 38 percent of their listed valuation at Customs.

The new valuation, the FBR statement declares, has been issued to accommodate the regularization process of cell phones initiated by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). According to the new procedures introduced by the PTA, immunity given to register unauthorized phones ends on December 31, 2018. Only the mobile phones with duties and taxes paid for clearance shall be registered. Earlier, PTA had been discontinuing the services to unauthorized SIM/IMEI starting December 2018. However, only the mobile phones cleared by the customs authorities after payment of mobile valuation duty and taxes shall be allowed to operate. This is applicable for all the phones which have been imported to Pakistan without prior proper customs clearance: now they can be regularized and cleared from PTA after payment of the custom duties and taxes.

Dispelling the misinformation following the new development, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, announced that the new move does not impose any new taxes on the overseas Pakistanis bringing their personal phones. They can bring the personal phones without paying taxes, however, for each additional phone they carry they shall have to pay the customs duty for each.