FBR chief for facilitating taxpayers, disposing of pending cases

Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed the regional tax offices to facilitate the taxpayers and dispose of pending audit cases at the earliest, said sources. It may be noted that the number of cases selected for audit is around 8000 in the region.

Chairman FBR has assured of resolving the audit issues by the fiscal year 2018-19, as revision of the audit policy in line with the problems faced by the taxpayers would start next fiscal year. Particularly the issues like repeated selection of a taxpayer for audit, nil filing and the audit of commercial importers would be addressed in new policy, he added.

In his meeting with the representatives from Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA) on Friday at the regional FBR office, he has also required a representation from the LTBA for review and a likely conclusion of the Final Tax Regime (FTR), salary and property income cases after certain verifications, they added.

Moreover, he has assured of evolving a mechanism regarding suspended Sales Tax cases, saying that all such cases would be supervised by the Chief Commissioners. Regarding glitches in the automatic process of cases under PRAL, he said all technical problems would be solved soon. Chairman FBR advised them to bring issues relating to PRAL into the knowledge of Member Information Technology (IT) with a copy in his name.

Sources quoted Chairman FBR as saying that he was in the process of detailed discussion on these issues with relevant Members of the Board. They said the Chairman FBR was considering reactivating the office of Additional Commissioner in new law, which was removed in tax reforms held in the past.

Sources said the LTBA also took up the issuance of demand notices by certain commissioners for payment of penalties in advance and warned of reduction in number of income tax returns next year in case if such coercive measures are not checked immediately. The LTBA representatives also pointed out that the regional tax officers were referring the disputed tax cases to tax inspectors and auditors, which was a clear negation of the law. Chairman FBR took strong exception of this practice and assured of taking strong action in case any complaint of such nature emerges again, as no inspector or auditor was authorized to conduct hearing of disputes.

The LTBA delegation also pinpointed that the disgruntled businessmen were extremely disappointed over the state of affairs and many of them were planning either to reduce the size or pack their businesses once and for all. They said the suspension of business on account of a disputed sales tax invoice; the aggrieved party cannot issue an invoice and ultimately either results into closure of business or opens up a window for corruption.

Chairman FBR assured the LTBA delegation of no further raid for stock checking would take place without approval from the Chief Commissioner. He also said there would be no suspension of business without the approval of the Commissioner and intimation to the Chief Commissioner and no audit inspector would be allowed to conduct hearing of disputed cases. He urged the LTBA to bring in his notice in case a Chief Commissioner fails to take action against violation of these instructions. President LTBA Chaudhry Qamar-uz-Zaman Mohal led a delegation comprising of ex-presidents including Rashid Rehman Mir, Naeem Shah, Rana Munir Hussain, Farhan Shehzad and Chaudhry Manzoor besides a senior member Tufail Asghar and other members of the Bar.