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September 2, 2018

Ombudsman reduces time for deciding tax cases


September 2, 2018

Islamabad : Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has increased the speed of processing complaints against tax officials for providing quick relief to the complainants, a senior official said here on Saturday.

The time of deciding a case has been reduced from 46 days to 40 days in one year and any taxpayer can submit his complaint free of cost, said Tariq Ahad Nawaz, Adviser FTO.

He said this while addressing a Seminar at Rawalpindi Islamabad Tax Bar Association (RITBA). Syed Tanseer Bukhari, Chairman Bar and Bench Coordination Committee RITBA conducted the seminar while SVP Faraz Fazal Sheikh, VP Ch. Naeemul Haq, GS Zahid Shafique, JS Sofia Akhtar, FS Safeer Ahmed and others were also present at the occasion.

Tariq Ahad Nawaz said that FTO is a forum to provide speedy justice to taxpayers and asked the participants for implementable suggestions aimed at improvement in the system. He said that lack of coordination between federal and provincial tax authorities is resulting in disputes and litigation while different software being used by tax departments are not integrated creating problems.

At the occasion, leading tax expert Habib Fakhruddin apprised participants about the recent changes in the Tax Return Forms and related matters. He called for simplicity of forms so that it can become comprehensible.

During question and answer session, Syed Muhammad Abbas Advocate said tax officials have no regard or respect for the directives of FTO.

He said that if FTO’s help is sought against maladministration, it often results in more harassment by the tax officials.

Notices of previous years are issued to taxpayers on one pretext or other to annoy them which is a reason behind the low number of complaints received by the FTO.

On this, Tariq Ahad Nawaz assured that FTO will take notice of maladministration by tax officials and we will try our best to protect the taxpayers. The tax experts also noted that FBR should be depoliticised and powers of its intelligence department should be curtailed to avoid harassment of the business community which will encourage compliance.

This was observed holding back refunds is one of the many challenges that has stained the revenue service in recent years.

The economy should not be damaged for the sake of a false impression of improved revenue collection, they demanded.

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