Pakistan will tax GPUs based on VRAM capacity, seriously

Daniel Sims

Posts: 757   +29
WTF?! Graphics card prices are finally coming down after roughly two years of insane market conditions. However, the Pakistani government plans to bring them back up somewhat with what could prove to be a very uneven tax system.

Pakistan's Collectorate of Customs announced new plans for its taxes on imported PC graphics cards last week. The decision is supposed to counter importers who devalue GPUs to sidestep customs and taxes. Instead of valuing cards individually, Pakistan will value every GPU based solely on its VRAM capacity.

The Collectorate published a chart of the values (in USD) against which it will levy its 36 percent tax in Pakistani Rupees, ranked for VRAM amounts ranging from 4GB to 24GB. For example, the new system assumes a $196 value for an 8GB GPU. Current exchange rates bring that to Rs. 42,561, and the 36 percent tax adds Rs. 15,321.96.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to tell the difference between GPUs unless you keep up with benchmark rankings. The names manufacturers give cards are often confusing. For a customs officer looking at GPU boxes, VRAM might be the easiest number to point out that indicates how they differ, but it definitely doesn't denote how they rank. The new plan might tax some GPUs more than other, more powerful products.

The Pakistani system might tax an aging flagship GPU like the 24GB Titan RTX much higher than the more powerful 3070. Of particular note is the 12GB mid-range RTX 3060, which would trigger the same duty as the far beefier RTX 3080 Ti, which also has 12GB of VRAM. The 3070 — usually a rank above the 3060 — has only 8GB.

That goes without mentioning the static valuations that might fit some cards but starkly devalue top-end GPUs, which is what the Pakistani authorities are trying to avoid. The collectorate values a 12GB chip at $328 — a match for the 3060's $330 MSRP. However, the maximum valuation is $540 for a 24GB GPU — barely over a quarter of the 24GB 3090 Ti's $2,000 MSRP.

Trying to establish some order with import duties is understandable. Unfortunately, comparing the value of GPUs is more complicated than it should be. What is the likelihood that customs officials would base their decisions on real-world performance rankings?

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Posts: 18   +18
Well, Pakistaní gamers are in a treat, they are still cheaper than MSRP and current prices, and make the 3070 very cheap to pay taxes (only 66$ on taxes for a +450 GPU!) I would gladly pay that here in Brazil.


Posts: 179   +227
I would’ve thought that a progressive rate sales tax would make more sense than using VRAM as market value proxy… if you think your reasons for a duty/tax are justified. I agree it’s a bit weird. If around for long enough, it might result in some weird Pakistan market 3080s with 4GB 🤨

George Keech

Posts: 265   +458
This is not very future proof is it. given how slow governments move - will they update this every year with tech?
I have an idea… VAT?

Great idea!
You take the value of the card, which importers lie about and.......
O wait....

The whole reason for this stupid system is that value turned out to be highly susceptible to fraud.
Taking mrsp would have been more fair though, but it's not like other governments make 200 IQ decisions.

fazy shah

Posts: 14   +9
I'm a Pakistan gamer and sometimes I stream and I condemn it. This is insane and I don't support this decision as it not only affects gamers but the importers and vendors and their jobs. 😞


Posts: 1,517   +2,260
This may actually be due to mining, as more VRAM and more memory bandwidth seems to generally be more desirable for that purpose, which is why Radeon VIIs still go for very high prices on the used market.


Posts: 211   +123
*shrug*. Make fun if you want, but after reading about NVidia having a few models out now where they'll have like a $150 model and like a $600 model with the same model name (and companies taking advantage by selling "gaming rigs" priced high enough you'd assume they used the high-end model, only to find out they didn't....)... I don't expect some tax or import duty official to be able to keep it straight, and I'm guessing importers may be taking full advantage of the confusion. On the other hand, these cards always have a big tag on the box saying how many GBs they have in them, it's easy and unambiguous. And lets face it, nobody is going to ship a low-end card with like 20GB RAM in it.
As a Pakistani I could understand this awkward situation this new government is a very bad one the whole gaming industry of Pakistan is making fun of this *****ic decision


Posts: 1,406   +987
This is an effort to curb GPU based mining. It is a serious burden on the Pakistani power-grid. If it were not for the greed of miners this would not be a problem.