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September 15, 2020

Simplified tax system will promote tax culture in country: FTO

National

September 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera said that a fair, just, efficient and simplified tax system could promote tax culture in the country.

While inaugurating the Facilitation Desk of Federal Tax Ombudsman at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), the FTO said that protecting the interests of taxpayers is the key priority of FTO organisation and FTO was providing relief to taxpayers by carrying out independent investigations and taking Own Motion initiatives about the maladministration by functionaries administering the federal taxes.

He said that FTO would work with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for setting timelines for tax cases to ensure their timely disposal. The ICCI has set up facilitation desk in its premises, which was aiming to address the issues related to federal taxes and make the tax compliance easier and more effective.

FTO said that criminal cases should be filed against those tax functionaries who were involved in malpractices and corruption. He said ensuring the self-respect of taxpayers was the responsibility of the state and state should honour this responsibility.

The FTO said that refund is the main issue of the business community, about which the tax ombudsman seeks to get his recommendations implemented by the FBR as soon as possible. On monthly basis FTO office oversees its performance in this regard and try to implement its decisions. Instead of waiting for individual complaints, the FTO takes Own Motion notices and conducts research studies, identifies structural and systemic issues in tax matters and issues orders to the FBR to enforce them as these issues lead to corruption, he added.

The FTO said that using his Own Motion powers he tried to unearth irregularities and to improve such areas of taxation system where glaring maladministration was visible. FTO office conveyed its recommendations to FBR regarding misuse of zero-rating facility and audit of manufacturers, misuse of jewelry export and illegal gold trade, unlawful compulsion of non-residents to file returns, irregularities in seizure, auction and smuggling of non-custom paid vehicles, irregularities and under-realisation of FED and ST from cigarette manufacturers, evasion of tax on agriculture income, ghost manufacturers and bogus sales tax refunds, fake invoices to evade taxes, smuggling of Iranian petroleum, and border tax evasion.

He said that SMEs were the backbone of economy and they needed more focus of the government for ease of doing business. The FTO appreciated the efforts of ICCI for providing better facilities to its members by setting up facilitation desks of various organisations that would help in resolving their key issues and promoting business activities.

Speaking at the occasion, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, President ICCI, said ICCI was striving to provide maximum facilitation to its members in business promotion and the establishment of FTO Facilitation Desk at Chamber was another right step in that direction. He said that ICCI would also set up the Facilitation Desks of CDA, Nadra, SMEDA and Passport Office to provide more facilitation to its members.

ICCI members at the occasion highlighted many tax issues including repeated selection of same taxpayers for audit, issue of Sec-8B, long delay in clearance of refunds and urged the FTO to work with FBR in resolving the highlighted issues.