Islamabad, September 29, 2023 – Pakistan is gearing up for a significant announcement set to be made on Saturday, September 30, 2023, pertaining to the last date for tax return filing for the tax year 2023.
The decision comes in response to the challenges faced by taxpayers while using the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) online return filing system, IRIS 2.0.
The original deadline for filing income tax returns for the tax year 2023 is September 30, 2023. However, the IRIS 2.0 portal, which serves as the official online platform for tax return submissions, has been plagued with numerous technical issues, causing frustration among taxpayers who view filing taxes as their national duty.
The FBR has received a barrage of complaints from various stakeholders, including chambers of commerce and tax bars, regarding the high number of errors and glitches on the IRIS 2.0 portal. These issues have hindered the smooth submission of tax returns.
According to sources within the FBR, the Finance Minister is expected to make an official announcement regarding an extension of the tax return filing deadline on September 30, 2023. The extension is expected to grant taxpayers an additional month, pushing the new deadline to October 31, 2023.
Traditionally, the FBR has provided multiple deadlines to taxpayers for filing their returns. However, this year, the revenue authority introduced the income tax return form on July 1, 2023, which theoretically allowed taxpayers three months to fulfill their filing obligations, as per statutory requirements.
Tax practitioners and experts argue that the statutory timeframe should begin from the comprehensive issuance of the return filing form. They contend that since the launch of the income tax return form, the FBR has made several changes to the online portal, causing confusion among taxpayers and practitioners alike.
The Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) has been at the forefront of raising concerns related to the IRIS 2.0 online return filing portal. In a formal letter addressed to the Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue, the PTBA outlined a series of issues and demanded clarity regarding the 90-day window mandated by statute.
The PTBA insists that the FBR should provide taxpayers with a clear 90-day period for filing returns, as required by law, once all technical glitches have been resolved on the online portal. They argue that the introduction of new software during the peak tax return filing period has raised questions about the FBR’s decision-making process and has imposed what they believe to be unlawful restrictions on Tax Year 2023 returns. Regional tax bars have also voiced similar concerns, highlighting the need for a fair and transparent tax return filing process in Pakistan.
The impending announcement on September 30, 2023, is eagerly awaited by taxpayers and tax professionals alike, as it is expected to bring clarity and relief to those grappling with technical challenges in meeting their tax obligations for the current year.