Pre-paid mobile phone card taxes put on hold: court

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You will not have to pay three taxes on 100-rupee mobile phone top-up cards that leave you with just 65 rupees, a court ruled on Monday.

This is effective from midnight Wednesday.

Service charges, withholding tax and excise duty cannot be taken on these cards, three Supreme Court judges ruled. They asked why so many taxes were cut from these cards. The mobile phone companies said that if you get a post-paid package for Rs100, you get that full amount to spend. But if you have a pre-paid card, you are left with Rs65.

Justice Umer Atta Bandial said that only 5% of people paid taxes but with these cards, mobile phone companies were taxing everyone. The judges said that the tax collecting agency, the FBR, should figure out other ways to do this.

The judges said that people should be taxed when they get post-paid packages and not when they get pre-paid cards.

Extra taxes have been put on hold until the court makes its final decision.

Mobile phone packages have destroyed our culture, remarked the judges.

The Supreme Court was hearing the case in its Lahore registry.

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