SRB sets up to make dental treatment expensive in Sindh

Karachi: Sindh Revenue Board says patients will be charged 13% sales tax on cosmetic and aesthetic treatments. However, dentists in Sindh oppose the levy, saying it will seriously affect the patient’s right to receive treatment.

According to sources, the categorization and definition of what the council considers to be “cosmetic” treatment was obscurely mentioned in the Sindh Service Sales Tax Act 2011.

The law states that orthodontics, lip surgery and any other dental treatment that falls under grade 1 on the IOTN dental treatment categorization scale, will be charged extra under this law.

However, vague terms such as lip surgery and orthodontics confuse dental practitioners as they struggle to communicate this unreasonable policy to their patients.

One dentist in particular speaks to Dental News about the issue, saying, “The term lip surgery is very vague. SRB must understand the need to clearly specify procedures. Lip surgeries are also performed in patients undergoing cancer treatment. Will the tax be imposed on that as well? Who will decide whether the surgery performed was critical or cosmetic, how these issues will be handled, which can ultimately make a dentist’s life difficult as they cannot disclose patient information to anyone without the patient’s consent.

Another dentist says that in many cases orthodontic treatment is advised after cleft lip and palate surgery. The tax imposed on orthodontics will discourage patients from opting for treatment.

It is also important to note that this particular tax is not imposed on patients from other provinces. Neither Punjab, nor KPK, nor Balochistan are subject to the application of this sales tax. The question then arises: why is the tax only applicable to Sindh patients?

Pakistan Dental Association President Dr. Mahmood Shah who is currently abroad has called an important meeting to discuss the imposition of unwarranted sales tax on dental surgeons in Sindh by Sindh Revenue Board (SRB).