Individual - Income determination

Last reviewed - 01 January 2021

Taxable income is calculated under five different types of income, as follows:

  • Salary.
  • Property.
  • Business.
  • Capital gains.
  • Income from other sources, which includes income from dividends, royalties, profit on debt (interest), ground rent, sub-lease of land or building, lease of building inclusive of plant or machinery, prize money, winnings, etc.

Employment income

Employee’s gross salary is Pakistan-source income and taxable in Pakistan if it is earned from employment exercised in Pakistan or if it is paid by or on behalf of the federal government, a provincial government, or a local authority.

Salary is the amount received by an employee from employment, whether of a revenue or capital nature. It includes leave pay, payment in lieu of leave, overtime, bonuses, commissions, fees, gratuities, work condition supplements, monetary and non-monetary perquisites, any allowance except those granted to meet expenses wholly and necessarily incurred in the performance of the employee’s duties of employment, profits in lieu of or in addition to salary, pensions, annuities, and tax reimbursement. In addition, amounts or perquisites paid or provided by an associate of the employer, a third-party under an arrangement with the employer or associate of the employer, a past employer or a prospective employer, or payments to an associate of the employee are also to be considered as salary.

Salaried individuals employed by the oil exploration and production sector are exempt from tax for a period of three years from the date of their arrival in Pakistan, though such exemption has been challenged by the department before higher courts in certain cases.

Diplomats and individuals entitled to United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1948 are exempt from tax on their salaries.

The extent of taxability and exclusions from income of some perquisites are discussed in the Deductions section.

Equity compensation

Employee share scheme

The fair market value of the shares determined at the date of issue under an employee share scheme, including as a result of the exercise of an option or right to acquire the shares, as reduced by any consideration paid by the employee for the shares, shall be chargeable to tax as salary. However, where shares are issued to the employee subject to restriction on the transfer of such shares, no amount shall be included in salary of the employee until the earlier of the time the employee has a free right to transfer the shares or at the time when the employee disposes of the shares.

The value of the right or option to acquired shares under an employee share scheme is not chargeable to tax

Stock options

An employee is taxed on the exercise of an option on the fair market value of the shares as reduced by the cost to the employee on acquisition. The gain on sale is taxed in the year of disposal, considering the fair market value at the time of exercise of the option as a cost of the employee.

Foreign-source income of returning expatriates

Foreign-source income of returning expatriates (citizens of Pakistan who were not resident in Pakistan during any of the preceding four tax years) shall be exempt from tax in the tax year of return and the succeeding tax year.

Income from property

Income from property derived by an individual is a separate block of income and taxable on a gross basis (without deduction of any expenses). Income from property shall be subject to tax as follows:

Taxable income (PKR) Tax on column 1 (PKR) Tax on excess (%)
Over (column 1) Not over
0 200,000   0
200,000 600,000   5
600,000 1,000,000 20,000 10
1,000,000 2,000,000 60,000 15
2,000,000 4,000,000 210,000 20
4,000,000 6,000,000 610,000 25
6,000,000 8,000,000 1,110,000 30
8,000,000   1,710,000 35

Previously, an option was available to such individuals whose property income exceeded PKR 4 million to offer for tax such income on a net income basis on the basis of personal income tax (PIT) rates. However, from 1 July 2020, the ceiling of PKR 4 million for exercising this option is now done away with. As a result, all non-corporate persons with property income can now opt to be taxed at par with corporate persons. In case rental income is computed on net income basis, certain specific deductions are allowed, including expenditure for the purpose administration and collection charges, up to a threshold of 4% of gross receipts.

Capital gains

Capital gain on immovable properties

Capital gains on the sale, exchange, or transfer of movable capital assets are taxable. Capital gain on the sale of immovable property is subject to tax, depending upon the amount of gain and holding period in the manner tabulated below:

Holding period (years) Amount of gain
0 to 1 A
1 to 2 A x ¾
2 to 3 A x ½
3 to 4 A x ¼
4 + 0

The capital gains worked out as above are subject to tax at the following rates:

Gain amount (PKR in millions) Rate of tax (%)
0 to 5 2.5
5 to 10 5.0
10 to 15 7.5
15 + 10.0

Exemption is available from such tax to a resident individual on sale of constructed residential property (house of 500 square yards and a flat of 4,000 square feet) used only for personal accommodation and subject to certain other conditions & limitations.

However, gains on the sale of capital assets held for personal use by a person or any member of a person's family who is dependent on the person, assets on which a person is entitled to depreciation or amortisation, stock in trade (not being stocks and shares), consumables, and raw materials held for business purposes are exempt from levy of capital gain tax.

Purchase of immovable property exceeding PKR 5 million and any other asset exceeding PKR 1 million other than through a banking channel shall not be considered as an eligible cost for the purpose of computation of capital gain as well as the related asset shall not be considered as an eligible depreciable asset. Moreover, such action would also invite penal consequences for the purchaser.

Capital gain on securities

Capital gains on the sale of securities (listed as well as other specified securities) are exempt if the instrument is acquired before 1 July 2013. Capital gains on such instruments are subject to tax as follows:


Holding period (months) Tax rates for persons appearing on the ATL (%)
Securities acquired before 1 July 2016 Securities acquired after 1 July 2016
0 to 12 15.0 15.0
12 to 24 12.5 15.0
24 + 7.5 15.0

Loss on disposal of listed and other securities could earlier only be set off against capital gains (and not allowed to be carried forward). From tax year 2019 and onwards, such loss is now allowed to be carried forward and set off against future capital gains on such securities, up to a maximum of three tax years.

Dividend income

Dividend income is generally subject to final tax at the rate of 15%; however, a different rate would apply in the following cases:

  • Dividend paid by Independent Power Purchasers where such dividend is a pass through item under relevant energy agreements and is required to be reimbursed by the relevant agency at 7.5% (applicable WHT rate also 7.5%).
  • Dividend from a company where no tax is payable by such company, due to exemption of income or carry forward of business losses or claim of tax credits at 25% (applicable WHT rate also 25%).

Interest income

Interest income for individuals is subject to final tax at the following rates:

Interest income earned (PKR in millions) Tax rate (%)
0 to 5 15.0
5 to 25 17.5
25 to 36 20.0

Interest income exceeding PKR 36 million would be subject to tax at the applicable slab rates, with tax already deducted considered as minimum tax.