Karachi, September 30, 2023 – The Karachi Tax Bar Association (KTBA) has issued a formal statement addressing the significant challenges faced by taxpayers attempting to file their annual income tax returns due to multiple issues within the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) online portal.
In a fourth attempt to communicate their concerns, including a Zoom meeting with FBR representatives, KTBA submitted a detailed letter to the FBR chairman on Friday, highlighting the serious issues hampering the return filing process.
Despite the impending deadline of September 30, 2023, for income tax return submissions, the online portal has consistently failed to function effectively, leaving taxpayers frustrated and anxious.
President of KTBA, Syed Zafar Ahmed, expressed deep disappointment regarding the FBR’s apparent lack of responsiveness in addressing critical issues with the IRIS portal. Members of the bar association have encountered problems such as incorrect calculations and errors in their returns, leading to undue stress and sleepless nights.
The gravity of the situation has resulted in a backlog of pending returns, impacting the ability of taxpayers to submit accurate and timely returns. President Ahmed criticized the FBR’s public statements that claimed the software was glitch-free and refused to consider extending the filing deadline.
Ahmed stated, “This behavior from a regulator breeds not only frustration but cultivates mistrust, which should be nipped right here. It is not erroneous on the part of the taxpayers and their counsels to expect the department to respond with empathy and responsibility rather than taking a stand and that too in the completely opposite direction.”
He clarified that the letter was not a request for a deadline extension but aimed to highlight and document the numerous legal and technical issues with IRIS 2.0, which have been previously communicated and some new ones that have arisen recently.
KTBA outlined 14 major issues in the letter related to IRIS 2.0 while noting that there were dozens of other unaddressed issues affecting the system.
President Ahmed urged the FBR Chairman to halt any further modifications to IRIS 2.0 without first consulting with stakeholders, particularly tax bars. He emphasized that failing to do so would constitute a serious legal and administrative oversight on the part of the FBR.
In conclusion, KTBA called on the FBR to rectify the errors and glitches within the online portal and to comply with the provisions of Section 118 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, which grants taxpayers a statutory right to ninety (90) days to file their income tax returns.
As the September 30 deadline looms, taxpayers and tax professionals across Karachi eagerly await a swift resolution to the issues plaguing the FBR’s online portal to ensure a smooth and accurate filing process.