ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has suggested the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to adopt zero tolerance policy against delaying processing of taxpayers’ applications.
The FTO in its news letter for October – December 2019, said that the FBR should introduce zero tolerance policy for delay in processing of applications and talking plea of verification to defend delay in cases which exceed prescribed time limit for finalization.
The FTO advised following set of proposals for consideration by the FBR to evolve a comprehensive plan to:
— Develop software for system generated notices about shortcomings in documents, to be intimated to applicants immediately on receipt of refund application. It should also be ensured that notices are properly served on complaints.
— Observe the due process of law in creation of demand. Prohibit decision without hearing, unless the concerned officer certifies with evidence, in his order, that notice was properly served but the taxpayer is avoiding to attend the hearing despite at least three giving hearings.
— Process the verification etc as soon as application is received, before intervention of FTO.
— Hold the person accountable, who prepares, signs and countersigns the comments/replies, which are factually incorrect or irrelevant.
— Ensure that comments/replies to the FTO are verified by countersigning officers and the departmental representatives appear for hearing after full preparation and consulting the records.
— Hold the chief commissioner/chief collectors accountable for promptly settling the jurisdictional issues.
— Ensure cessation of harassment by opening a case which is under investigation, and requirement of specific permission from the chief commissioner for re-opening of old cases after giving reasons of having not opened the case before the taxpayer filed a complaint.
— Issue directions for observance of office procedures to ensure that the documents received are properly preserved and maintained.
— Pay attention to requests of aggrieved persons when they visit for pursuing their cases, by establishing help/complaint desk near main gate of offices. A senior officer should daily check the complaints for appropriate action.
— Implement inspection regime of offices by senior officers to check pendency and other apparent irregularities.