KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has suggested that the cases of tax adjudication should be handled by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO).
The suggestion has been made to make adjudication more fair, neutral, transparent, and competent resolution.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday, the FPCCI President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo presented the suggestion while speaking on the occasion of Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah, FTO Pakistan, visit to FPCCI Head Office in Karachi.
He said that FPCCI appreciates FTO’s recent notice and report on the misuse of powers by the officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in issuing fake notices and accessing the bank accounts of the taxpayers unnecessarily.
Maggo apprised the audience that it has been FPCCI’s longstanding demand to have a well-reputed, fearless, competent, and senior officer appointed as FTO Pakistan.
Highlighting the major issues with income tax cases, FPCCI President said that discrimination, delay, injustice, non-transparency and non-payment of refunds are plaguing the taxation system of the country and that is the reason FPCCI recommends sweeping reforms in the system.
Hanif Lakhany, Vice President FPCCI, said that the business community is, for the first time, feeling secure and protected against the tax and customs officials’ harassment and highhandedness; due to the fair redressal by the office of FTO. He also thanked the government for having the right man for the right job.
Nasir Khan, Vice President FPCCI, expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the office of FTO; but, maintained that the tax and customs authorities use time-delay and procrastinating tactics to avoid swift redressal of the issues of business, industry and trade community. In order to resolve these grievances, FTO should be given the authority to reprimand and punish corrupt officers.
FTO Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah apprised the audiences on the mandate and the performance of the Federal Tax Ombudsman.
He said that 90% of the complaints by the business community go in their favor on average. The complainants have the option of appealing to FTO or of even filing a representation with the constitutional office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah added that FTO can not directly reprimand the tax and customs officials; but, he can make his observations on misuse of powers, maladministration, anomalies, harassment and corruption; and, those are taken seriously.
Another limitation of the FTO is that we can not take up cases that have been already taken up by any court of law and are subjudice. Explaining the other functions of the institution of FTO, Dr. Jah said that inspections, own-motion actions and research are also mandated.
Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah also stated that he wants to expedite the turnaround time for the resolution of complaints from 60 days to 60 hours. He also agreed to FPCCI’s demand of setting up help desks at FPCCI offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.