Procedure for alternate dispute resolution

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has laid down procedure for alternate dispute resolution (ADR) in order to provide a platform to taxpayers for expeditious resolution of their cases.

A new section 134A has been introduced to Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 through Finance Act 2020.

Section 134A. Alternative dispute resolution.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Ordinance, or the rules made thereunder, an aggrieved person in connection with any dispute pending before a court of law or an appellate authority pertaining to—

(a) the liability of tax against the aggrieved person, or admissibility of refunds, as the case may be;

(b) the extent of waiver of default surcharge and penalty; or

(c) any other specific relief required to resolve the dispute, may apply to the Board for the appointment of a committee for the resolution of any hardship or dispute mentioned in detail in the application, which is under litigation in any court of law or an appellate authority, except where criminal proceedings have been initiated or where interpretation of question of law having effect on identical cases is involved having effect on other cases.

(2) The Board may, after examination of the application of an aggrieved person, appoint a committee, within sixty days of receipt of such application in the Board, comprising,—

(i) Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue having jurisdiction over the case;

(ii) two persons from a panel notified by the Board comprising of chartered accountants, cost and management accountants, advocates, having minimum of ten years’ experience in the field of taxation and reputable businessmen.

(3) The Board shall communicate the order of appointment of committee to the court of law or the appellate authority where the dispute is pending and the Commissioner.

(4) The Committee appointed under sub-section (2) shall examine the issue and may, if it deemed necessary, conduct inquiry, seek expert opinion, direct any officer of the Inland Revenue or any other person to conduct an audit and shall decide the dispute through consensus, within one hundred and twenty days of its appointment.

(5) The Committee may, in case of hardship, stay recovery of tax payable in respect of dispute pending before it for a period not exceeding one hundred and twenty days in aggregate or till the decision of the committee or its dissolution, whichever is earlier.

(6) The decision of the committee under sub-section (4) shall be binding on the Commissioner when the aggrieved person, being satisfied with the decision, has withdrawn the appeal pending before the court of law or any appellate authority and has communicated the order of withdrawal to the Commissioner:

Provided that if the order of withdrawal is not communicated to the Commissioner within sixty days of the service of decision of the committee upon the aggrieved person, the decision of the committee shall not be binding on the Commissioner.

(7) If the Committee fails to decide within the period of one hundred and twenty days under sub-section (4), the Board shall dissolve the committee by an order in writing and the matter shall be decided by the court of law or the appellate authority where the dispute is pending.

(8) The Board shall communicate the order of dissolution to the court of law or the appellate authority and the Commissioner.

(9) The aggrieved person, on receipt of the order of dissolution, shall communicate it to the court of law or the appellate authority, where the dispute is pending.

(10) The aggrieved person may make the payment of income tax and other taxes as decided by the committee under sub-section (4) and all decisions and orders made or passed shall stand modified to that extent.

(11) The Board may prescribe the amount to be paid as remuneration for the services of the members of the committee, other than the member appointed under clause (i) of sub-section (2).

(12) The Board may, by notification in the official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this section.

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