There has been an increase in the tax on imported phones in Pakistan in recent times in an exorbitant manner, with the price of flagship phones reaching as much as PKR 150k in some cases. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) also needs to be informed that imported mobile phones must be registered within two months of the arrival of the device in the country, otherwise they will cease to function on local cellular networks once they are registered with the PTA. If you want to buy mobile phones in Pakistan, you will need to pay import duties on any phones you bring in from outside the country. On the bright side, there is an upside to all of this as overseas Pakistanis will be exempt from the import tax as a result of this change.
A new initiative will soon see overseas Pakistanis not having to pay PTA taxes on smartphones they purchase abroad.
The news of this wonderful development was released directly from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the country’s national telecom regulatory agency, in a press release stating the lifting of the ban on imported mobile phones. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been requested to waive the duty on smartphones imposed by the telecom regulator for the purpose of promoting their sale.
However, it is also worth mentioning here that the new rule will exempt from taxation only one smartphone imported from abroad for personal use that is imported from abroad as part of a holiday trip. There is no difference between smartphones imported in bulk or for retail sale, for instance, but still require the standard import duties to be paid. Pakistanis who live abroad might be able to save money by using this measure in order to avoid having to pay additional fees for phones they have already purchased.
Secondly, it would provide an opportunity for non-Pakistani citizens who have smartphones and wish to bring them to Pakistan for personal work purposes. The final decision will rest with FBR, however, so please bear in mind that PTA has only requested the change and that the latter is up to the FBR. This therefore means that the concept is still in the preliminary stages.