FBR upgrades FASTER to FASTER Plus System

ISLAMABAD: FBR’s automation process of refund of Sales Tax had started in 2002 through introduction of STARR system which was semi-automated system and refund claimants would file refund claims through Refund Claims Preparatory System (RCPS). Refund data was taken to field offices on CDs where the refund claims were sanctioned at field level.
In the year 2011, ERS was introduced for processing of refund claims of manufacturers-cum-exporters who could file their refund claims online whereas STARR system continued for processing of refund claims for other sectors. In the aftermath of the rollback of zero rating, FASTER was introduced with effect from July, 2019 for processing of refund claims of ex-zero rated exporters at a fast pace of 72 hours.
Since the system was newly made, many system glitches marred proper working of FASTER system. Since its beginning, due to these technical glitches in the FASTER system, refund claimants faced problems like many of the cases stuck up at pre-processing stage, missing amount of refunds, no intimation about the status of refund and delays in processing and sanctioning of refunds. System was also new for refund claimants and erroneous filing of refund claims through Annex-H was rampant.
However, IR Operation Wing of FBR along with PRAL in July, 2020 started the task of overhauling the FASTER system to make it glitch-free and completely transparent with end-to-end fully automated.
Due to FASTER Plus System, Sales Tax refund claims of exporters which were stuck up at pre-processing stage in the FASTER system due to any reason including erroneous filing stand rolled back to claimants to provide an opportunity to exporters to review and resubmit their claims after removing shortcomings. The step allowed refunds to thousands of refund claimants to get their long stuck up refunds.
To restrict erroneous filing of refund claims and ensure that only valid refund claims are filed entry-gate check points have been applied. This will ensure that all the refund claims which are filed are processed. No refund claim now can be stuck up at pre-processing stage. Another salient feature of these checks is that if any refund claimant files his refund claim with errors, system would guide it in easy non-technical language. Parameters have been updated to categorize ex-zero-rated sectors so that refunds claims are properly channeled through FASTER Module.
A new dashboard has been activated at FBR e-portal to view the stage-wise update regarding refund claims without contacting any officials of FBR or PRAL. Mobile app to enable a sales tax refund claimant to view the status of refund claim at each stage of processing has been made part of FASTER Plus System. Updation about refund status could also be ascertained by sending a SMS at 9966 through registered mobile of the refund claimant.
Meanwhile, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued clarification on the news appearing in print and electronic media regarding levying of 17 percent Sales tax on resale of used and refurbished vehicles. FBR has clarified that the existing law charged sales tax on full sale value which was harsh and excessive. On the request of business community who are engaged in such business and after seeking support of major chambers of commerce of the country, a clause was added in the Finance Act to provide relief and to encourage refurbishing of second-hand vehicles. This relief is available to only registered persons in Sales Tax and is restricted to 17% of value addition made by such players. No unregistered person can deduct or demand such sales tax from a buyer. It is further clarified that only rules have been finalized now.

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