The tax bar, which is an umbrella of 36 tax bars across the country, in a letter to Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), on Monday pointed out glitches in the tax return filing portal of the FBR.
“No doubt the FBR authorities have tried their best to provide comfort to the taxpayers in the filing of returns but at the same time some challenges pertaining to IRIS system are being faced in the shape of hacking etc. due to international politics/system glitches,” the tax bar said.
The PTBA said that its member KTBA had highlighted in detail the technical errors/system glitches in the return filing.
The apex tax bar apprised the FBR chairman that an important amendment was made through the Finance Act, 2021 regarding updation of business bank account under Section 114A of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.
“No doubt, the taxpayers are also required to update his business profile through the filing of the form prescribed under Section 181 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 which is also a time-consuming work/burden on the part of the taxpayers and especially on the part of the tax consultants,” the PTBA said.
It further said: “Due to the said profile updation, workload of every consultant is almost double, hence sufficient time is required for preparation/filing of income tax returns.”
As aware that the last date for updating business bank account is also coinciding with the last date of filing of tax returns and no extension under the law is provided. “We, therefore, earnestly request you not to enforce the implementation till December 31, 2021 in order to provide maximum time to the taxpayers and tax consultants who are already heavily occupied in the filing tax returns,” the PTBA added.
The PTBA further pointed out that taxpayers in general and tax consultants/advisors in particulars are facing acute hurdles in the preparation of tax payment challans because the response of the system in this regard is very uncomfortable.
It highlighted that the income tax return form introduction for SMEs sector is issued on the IRIS system without sharing a draft of the same as required under Income Tax Ordinance, 2001. However, it is noted that though no draft was shared with the tax bars, the return was uploaded very late and interestingly the same is also not working properly through the system to date and the taxpayers who would like to avail the benefits of SME sector provided under section 2(59A) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 are still unable to even prepare their income tax returns on IRIS, hence sufficient time for filing of income tax returns for those taxpayers who would like to avail the benefit of SMEs sector, is liable to be provided.
Similarly, the manual return of income for the individual and Association of Persons (AOPs) for the tax year 2021 was notified on the insistence of PTBA, and the same was introduced through SRO 1073(I)/2021 dated August 27, 2021 and as per law 90 days time would start from the date of issuance of prescribed return i.e. August 27, 2021 and 90 days would expire on November 25, 2021 which would again create problems for the taxpayers and tax machinery alike.
The PTBA said that the situation of the COVID-19 is improving from last month as the fourth wave while even following the SOPs. “In this situation the business community in general and tax consultants in particular, are facing hardships/stress while performing their daily routine work/duties.”
The tax bar said that after a hacking attack on the FBR website, the entire FBR system collapsed and all websites including customs operations were not performing properly for minimum 15 days. “No doubt FBR authorities have done a great job in restoring the FBR system website within the couple of days but unfortunately nobody could perform their routine work for minimum 15 days. This, it is one of the important reasons that time filing of returns is liable to be extended for smooth/hassle free filing of returns of income.”
The PTBA said that in the light of the aforesaid facts and legal exposition, it is requested to allow and provide 90 days time till December 31, 2021 for filing of income tax returns and updation of bank accounts by the taxpayers.