Estimating The Distributional Burden Of Indirect Taxes In Pakistan

The tax structure of Pakistan heavily relies on indirect taxes that constitute 62 per cent of total tax receipts in FY 2018-19 whereas direct taxes constitute 38 per cent. This research aims to assess the overall incidence and the distributional burden of indirect taxes in Pakistan across deciles of household expenditures. Specifically, it examines the extent to which indirect taxes (general sales tax, customs and federal excise duties) can be considered as progressive, regressive or proportional.The research also incorporates the implicit taxes on exempted items, i.e., tax paid on intermediate inputs used in producing these items. Estimating the incidence of indirect taxes without capturing the impact of these taxes may likely portray misleading results. This research will use an input-output model-based approach to incorporate this feature. To observe household consumption expenditures, the study will use Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES) 2018-19. The incidence and distributional impact will be computed by assembling household consumption items into various commodity groups. Among direct taxes, an important source is withholding taxes (WHT) where over 60 per cent of the collection is indirect as these can be shifted forward. The research also examines the incidence for indirect components of WHT, but only for those heads where data are available at the household level. The findings shall provide the government options to address the distributional impact of indirect taxes and formulating equitable taxation policy.

CGP 02-094
PhD Scholar
Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC), University of Karachi, Karachi
08 months
Rs. 1,800,000/-
Mr. Muhammad Asad Khan