FTO Office Assures Timely and Free Justice to Businessmen

FTO Office Assures Timely and Free Justice to Businessmen

Karachi, September 6, 2023 – In a reassuring move, the Federal Tax Ombudsman’s (FTO) office has pledged to deliver timely and cost-free justice to businessmen facing taxation-related issues.

This commitment was made during a meeting held between FTO advisors and members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday.

The FTO office, which addresses various taxation concerns, including delays in Sales Tax and Income Tax refunds, unwarranted audit notices, abuse of authority, and harassment by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials, assures prompt resolution of these issues.

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During their visit to KCCI, FTO Advisors Badruddin Ahmed Qureshi, Mohammad Iqbal Ahmed, Ashfaq Ahmed, and Muhammad Shakeel emphasized that complainants’ confidentiality is strictly maintained. Taxpayers can lodge their complaints against tax collection authorities through various online communication channels, including WhatsApp, email, the FTO website’s online form, or even by phone. These complaints will be promptly addressed, and resolutions will be in accordance with the law.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of FTO Asif Jha, the number of complaints received by the FTO has increased from 2,500 to 8,000. This surge reflects a growing willingness among taxpayers to voice their concerns against the FBR.

Present at the meeting were Senior Vice President KCCI Touseef Ahmed, Vice President KCCI Mohammad Haris Agar, Chairman of the Federal Taxation Subcommittee Abu Bakar Shamsi, Former Vice President Younus Soomro, and KCCI Managing Committee Members.

Advisor FTO Badruddin Ahmed Qureshi highlighted that refunds must be transferred within 72 hours as per the law. However, this was not happening, resulting in numerous complaints regarding delayed refunds. He urged taxpayers experiencing refund delays to seek FTO assistance, citing a case where FTO successfully recovered a Rs10 million refund along with a Rs17 million compensation, totaling Rs27 million, pending for almost 15 years.

Addressing concerns about Section 8A, Qureshi clarified that if a transaction occurred while the supplier was listed as an active taxpayer with solid evidence, businessmen or industrialists could not be held accountable for subsequent supplier wrongdoing. He assured that FTO would provide assistance and relief to taxpayers facing such issues.

Qureshi also noted that Inland Revenue Audit Officers (IRAO) had no authority to conduct assessments or issue orders. If such unlawful actions were occurring, they should be reported to FTO for appropriate action. He mentioned that customs officials’ interception of goods in transit was another pressing issue, which FTO’s office could address by ensuring strict implementation of its orders.

Furthermore, Qureshi revealed that 90 percent of reviews and appeals submitted by FBR against FTO orders were decided in favor of the FTO by the Presidential Office.

Senior Vice President KCCI Touseef Ahmed welcomed FTO Advisors and stressed the importance of a strong liaison between KCCI and FTO. He proposed the formation of a joint committee between the two institutions to address various issues, including pending refund claims and unnecessary audit notices.

Regarding Section 7E of the Income Tax Ordinance, Ahmed urged its immediate withdrawal nationwide, emphasizing that taxation laws should be uniform across Pakistan.

He criticized FBR’s discriminatory taxation laws, particularly Section 8A of the Sales Tax Act, labeling it a “black law.” Ahmed argued that it was unjust to hold industrialists accountable for supplier misconduct, as they relied on the supplier’s active taxpayer status when conducting deals.

In conclusion, the FTO’s commitment to delivering prompt and cost-free justice to businessmen facing taxation-related challenges was welcomed by the Karachi business community, as they seek to alleviate issues hampering their operations and growth.