FBR Transfers Key Lahore Tax Officers in Surprise Shakeup

FBR Transfers Key Lahore Tax Officers in Surprise Shakeup

PkRevenue.com – In an unexpected move just days before the federal budget presentation, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has transferred key officials from the Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) in Lahore to the administrative pool.

The reshuffle, announced in a notification on May 30, 2024, has raised eyebrows among the tax administration community, especially given its timing at the end of the fiscal year.

The FBR has reassigned Mehmood Hussain Jafri, a BS-21 Inland Revenue Service (IRS) officer, from his current position as Chief Commissioner of LTO Lahore to the role of Member, FBR Islamabad, stationed in Lahore. Similarly, Rana Waqar Ali, a BS-20 IRS officer and Commissioner of Zone II at LTO Lahore, has been appointed Chief Admin Pool. Additionally, Amjad Farooq, another BS-20 IRS officer who was serving as Chief Commissioner at the Regional Tax Office (RTO) in Lahore, has been transferred to Chief Admin Pool at FBR Islamabad, also stationed in Lahore.

In light of these transfers, the FBR has assigned senior officers as additional charge to cover the responsibilities of those moved to the Admin Pool. This decision has taken many by surprise, especially since the federal budget for 2024-25 is set to be announced in just a week. Moreover, with only one month left in the fiscal year 2023-24, these senior officials are crucial to ongoing revenue collection efforts.

Sources within the IRS, who spoke to PkRevenue.com on condition of anonymity, suggest that the transfers may be linked to ongoing tax proceedings initiated by LTO Lahore against a prominent media giant. The officials targeted in these transfers were reportedly leading probes into significant tax evasion and money laundering activities involving the media house.

One senior IRS officer indicated that the refusal of these officials to succumb to external pressures led to a smear campaign orchestrated against them. The media house allegedly hired a tax practitioner to defame the FBR officers, resulting in their abrupt transfers. This maneuver is seen by some within the IRS as a punitive action aimed at disrupting the tax investigations and protecting the interests of the media conglomerate.

The FBR’s decision has sparked a wave of speculation and concern among tax officials, who view the timing and nature of the transfers as detrimental to their efforts in enforcing tax compliance and boosting revenue. As the country braces for the upcoming budget, the implications of this reshuffle on the tax administration’s efficiency and integrity remain to be seen.