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FBR chief’s decision not to freeze bank accounts for tax recovery hailed

Business

May 12, 2019

KARACHI: Business community on Saturday warmly welcomed the very first decision taken by Shabbar Zaidi after assuming the charge of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for restricting tax offices from freezing bank accounts in recovery cases.

Daroo Khan Achakzai, president, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), while hailing the decision, said the apex trade body had been demanding to stop harassment by FBR officials in the name of bank attachment.

On Friday, Shabbar Zaidi had issued instructions to Inland Revenue offices for not attaching bank accounts of taxpayers without prior information and obtaining approval from the FBR chairman.

The FPCCI president said there were increased incidences of bank account attachment and other serious coercive measures taken by the tax officer under the garb of the Section 48 for recovery of arrears.

“Such abuse of powers was creating trust deficit and lack of confidence of taxpayers in law, which is pre-requisite for success of any scheme,” he added.

He hoped that the directive would address the complaints of the business community about the unnecessary attachments of bank accounts for recovery of the disputed amount from the bank accounts of taxpayers without fulfilment of legal process.

Junaid Makda, president, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) termed the order as a “pro-business move” and the first step in the right direction, which would help in restoring the lost confidence of the business and industrial community.

Makda said that now all the commissioners Inland Revenue would require permission in advance from the chairman in cases of recovery through bank account attachment.

“We firmly believe that massive discretionary powers have to be curtailed, which was the only way forward to improve revenue collection, ensure economic prosperity and make FBR a taxpayer-friendly institution,” Makda said.

Saleem Parekh, president, SITE Association of Trade and Industry (SAI), said the decision of the FBR chairman had shown a balanced approach on handling recoveries.

The condition of the chairman’s approval before seizing bank accounts would make the process transparent by limiting the discretionary powers of field officers, he added.

It is expected that the chairman would devise policies that would channel the full force of FBR on broadening the tax base instead of subjecting the current tax payers to different types of annual audits.

Pakistan Yarn Merchant Association (PYMA) also welcomed the FBR decision and termed it as business friendly.

PYMA Chairman Muhammad Saqib Goodluck said, “Shabbar Zaidi possesses all required capabilities to turn FBR business friendly, which could move the country on way to economic progress, which would generate visible revenue for the government.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) declared the appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as a positive step.

The PTBA congratulated Zaidi for taking the reins of FBR and agreeing to dedicate his time and energy for the betterment of the country.

The statement said that Zaidi was a globally known professional and was bringing with him the wealth of in-depth knowledge about the the taxation system, Pakistan’s economy, and the problems which were holding it back.

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