FPCCI rejects tax officials’ arrest powers

Web DeskWeb Editor

15th Jun, 2021. 07:16 pm


KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Tuesday rejected the proposed powers for the tax officials to make arrests on concealment of income, a statement said.

The FPCCI President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo slammed the amendment to Section 203A of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, proposed through the Finance Bill, 2021, which gives powers to arrest and prosecute any person for concealment of income to the assistant commissioners of the Inland Revenue Service – merely on the basis of an accusation or doubt.

Maggo said that the income tax is a civil liability and could not be treated as criminal liability, and this had always remained a civil matter historically. Section 203A opens doors to harassment of business, industry, and trade communities.

Section 203A will add to the already existing harassment of businessmen by the tax officials through the issuance of several thousand notices.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has taken notice and his timely intervention has resulted in the withdrawal of a large number of notices issued to the businessmen, he said.

The FPCCI chief said the businessmen must be respected for generating taxes and employment for the country. The businesses should be conducted in harmony; instead of conflicts and contradictions created by the tax officials – resulting from the strengthening of their discretionary powers.

Maggo said that Section 192A (Prosecution for Concealment of Income) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, already covers the subject sufficiently. There is no need for Section 203A and the FPCCI demands it should be omitted and taken off the table in the final budget documents.

The FPCCI is looking forward to resolving this issue by the withdrawal of Section 203A on an immediate basis, he added.

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