FTO expresses concerns over FBR’s unethical behavior

FTO expresses concerns over FBR’s unethical behavior

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has raised serious concerns over the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) handling of taxpayer complaints, citing a lack of empathy and cooperation in addressing the hardships faced by taxpayers.

In a recent order, the FTO directed the FBR to rectify errors in the Centralized Personnel Registry (CPR) and assist employees of a school who encountered tax deduction discrepancies.

The complaint stemmed from the principal of Workers Welfare Higher Secondary School for Girls in Multan, who reported an issue regarding the deduction of Rs69,885 from the salaries of school employees. The deduction, made under Section 149 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 for August 2020, had an incorrect tax period listed as 2019 instead of the correct year, 2020. Despite the principal’s request for correction, the Regional Tax Office (RTO) in Islamabad rejected the plea.

Upon escalating the matter to the Federal Tax Ombudsman, the RTO contended that the principal lacked the standing to request corrections as she was not a direct party in the CPR. The FTO, however, disagreed, emphasizing that the principal had a legitimate interest in safeguarding the rights of school employees, who faced challenges in claiming tax credits due to the incorrect tax year recorded in the CPR.

The FTO’s order highlighted the importance of considering the broader implications on taxpayers and criticized the indifferent approach of state functionaries in addressing public complaints. The FBR was explicitly directed to extend cooperation to the complainant and rectify the inaccuracies in the CPR within 30 days.

The FTO’s intervention underscores the significance of responsive and empathetic handling of taxpayer concerns, emphasizing that citizens should not face unnecessary hurdles when seeking corrections to errors impacting their financial matters. The order serves as a reminder to tax authorities to prioritize effective communication and cooperation, ensuring that the taxpayer experience is both fair and transparent.

As taxpayers navigate complex regulatory frameworks, the role of tax authorities becomes crucial in fostering a collaborative environment. The FTO’s scrutiny of this case signals a commitment to ensuring that public institutions prioritize the welfare of citizens and promptly address grievances.

The FBR is now tasked with implementing the directives within the stipulated timeframe, which will be closely monitored by the FTO. This case exemplifies the broader need for continuous improvement in administrative processes to create a more taxpayer-friendly environment, fostering trust and compliance within the tax system.