Zakat exemption limit sees 17pc cut to stand at Rs 51,086

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The salaried class, who are the worst hit by the persistent double digit inflation, would see their Zakat exemption limit shrinking by 17 percent this year.
To be deducted by the banks on first day of the holy month of Ramadan, the “Nisab of Zakat” for 2012 (Zakat year 1432-33 A.H) has been set by the federal government at Rs 51,086.
Last year, the government had relieved the salaried people, who maintain savings accounts in banks, by doubling the Zakat exemption limit to Rs 61,336 from Rs 29,385 of the preceding year, 2010.
The measure was expected to provide relief to the salaried class.
This year, however, the limit for the holders of saving accounts has been decreased by Rs 10,250 or 16.7 percent compared to 2011.
According to official sources, the amount of deductible Zakat is determined as per market price of the 52-tola silver. On Friday, in the open market per tola silver was priced at Rs 974.68 that when multiplied with 52 tolas totals at Rs 50,683.36.
The State Bank has asked the banks that the Zakat shall be deducted as per instructions of the notification issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs last Wednesday.
The ministry, in the notification, asked the central bank to convey to the banks and all financial institutions that the Administrator General Zakat had set the deductible amount at Rs 51,086.
“No deduction of Zakat at source shall be made, in case the amount standing to the credit of an account in respect of the assets mentioned in column 2 of Serial No. 1 of the first schedule of Zakat and Ushr Ordinance, 1980, is less than Rs 51,086 on the first day of Ramazan,” reads notification number CE-1001(36)/NISAB/1432-33/2012.
Subject to sighting of the moon, the Zakat would be deducted by the banks on the first day of Ramadan, being a bank holiday, which is likely to fall on Saturday or Sunday.
The Zakat would be minused from the saving bank accounts, profit and loss sharing accounts and other similar accounts having a credit balance of Rs 51,086.
“All the Zakat Collection Controlling Agencies (ZCCAs) are requested to deduct the Zakat accordingly,” said the ministry.
When deducted by the banks the Zakat money is deposited in the Central Zakat Fund being maintained by the federal government with the State Bank of Pakistan.
Before the holy month starts, the account holders, specially the low or middle income depositors who maintain saving accounts with the banks, rush to the banks to withdraw their deposits before the first Ramadan when the Zakat is deducted.
The bankers, however, suggest that instead of doing a hectic activity the account holders should submit an affidavit seeking exemption from Zakat deduction. Most depositors, however, do not tend to go for this option and withdraw their money before Ramazan to be deposited after first Ramadan.