FBR bars tax officials from entering taxpayers premises for search, audit

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has barred officers of Inland Revenue from entering premises of taxpayers for search and audit purposes.

The FBR issued a notification on Monday and restricted IR officers for invoking Section 175(1) of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

The FBR received numerous complaints of taxpayers that tax officials were abusing powers available under this section.

The IR officers were allowed under this section to enter and search premises.—

(1) In order to enforce any provision of this Ordinance (including for the purpose of making an audit of a taxpayer or a survey of persons liable to tax), the Commissioner or any officer authorised in writing by the Commissioner for the purposes of this section –

(a) shall, at all times and without prior notice, have full and free access to any premises, place, accounts, documents or computer;

(b) may stamp, or make an extract or copy of any accounts, documents or computer-stored information to which access is obtained under clause (a);

(c) may impound any accounts or documents and retain them for so long as may be necessary for examination or for the purposes of prosecution;

(d) may, where a hard copy or computer disk of information stored on a computer is not made available, impound and retain the computer for as long as is necessary to copy the information
required; and

(e) may make an inventory of any articles found in any premises or place to which access is obtained under clause (a).

The FBR said that in exceptional cases the section may be invoked but with the prior permission of the chief commissioner of Inland Revenue.

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