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June 26, 2020

Tax office alleged of ‘harassing’ businessmen

Business

June 26, 2020

KARACHI: Tax practitioners have alleged a tax office of ‘harassing’ businessmen by asking them to explain dip in sales during the past three months despite an explicit reason concerning the COVID-19 shutdown, sources said on Thursday.

Office bearers of Karachi Tax Bar Association (KTBA) said Corporate Regional Tax Office (CRTO) Karachi issued notices to traders seeking reasons behind falling sales and warned them of suspension of their tax registration on their failure.

Sources said the KTBA president showed typical notices to the Chief Commissioner during a meeting.

“The KTBA president showed his utter astonishment over the notices as to how a commissioner can possibly act as if he or she does not know of the catastrophe with which the whole of the country is going through,” an official quoted him as saying.

The office bearers of KTBA held a meeting a day earlier with Sajidullah Siddiqui, Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue, CRTO Karachi to apprise him about the harassment by tax officials.

The sources said the chief commissioner office assured that no adverse action would be taken and commissioner officers would be refrained from suspension order on this account.

The CCIR also gave assurance that in the event of any mishandling, on the complaint by any taxpayer or the bar he would immediately take remedial action, said people who attended the meeting.

Economic activities came to a grinding halt after the government imposed lockdown in late March in the aftermath of coronavirus outbreak. The downturn reflected in an unprecedented contraction in growth that was estimated at negative 0.4 percent during the current fiscal year. Since lockdown is partially eased, the economy has yet to find its way back to normalcy.

Sources said Commissioners of Inland Revenue at the CRTO Karachi issued notices without realising the adverse impact of coronavirus and massive decline in sales due to the lockdown.

The CRTO Karachi has jurisdiction over majority of textile manufacturers and exporters.

“How can this simply be possible that show cause is completely immune of any news or fact or figures, which are being spilled over every single day not only by national and international news media but by governments as well,” said KTBA president. “It is unbelievable to believe that commissioner office is not aware of the coronavirus pandemic and its worst aftermaths.”

The president also showed his displeasure on behalf of the bar members in the event any adverse fallout of the showcause notices occurs.