President Alvi seeks effective tax system to ensure ease of doing business
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday stressed the need for an effective taxation system in the country to ensure ease of doing business and encourage people to join the tax net.
Addressing the public awareness seminar on the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said tax evasion could prove detrimental for economies and hindered the overall national progress.
On the special interest of President Alvi to apprise masses about the platform of FTO for speedy justice on tax-related grievances, the seminar gathered representatives from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), chambers of commerce and relevant tax functionaries.
The president said the FTO, in response to public grievances, put a check on the acts and decisions of the revenue board; thus, presenting a balance of authority and accountability between the two institutions.
“Pakistan needs a departmental system where the authority could be held accountable in the interest of the common man,” he said.
Emphasising the need for a simplified and tax-friendly environment to encourage the people to fulfill their national obligation, the president said the lack of trust on tax-collecting bodies and their corruption were the main factors of tax evasion.
He recalled the meeting of over 100 delegations of traders and businessmen in the last few years, who showed readiness to pay taxes but expressed apprehensions about the present tax system.
He called for fixing the loopholes in the tax system by putting in place effective checks with the use of tools of technology and digitalisation to ensure transparency.
However, he said, such a system of check and balance must not create delays to the inconvenience of the taxpayers.
The president said an effective tax system would help eliminate corruption from the society, which was otherwise gravely affecting the poor in view of their unsustainability to the economic scenario.
President Alvi expressed confidence that the seminar would raise awareness about the FTO as an institution, which issued their decision within 45 days pertaining to the maladministration of the government departments falling in their jurisdiction.
Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera said that the FTO was working efficiently with its mandate to investigate, redress and rectify maladministration of the tax bodies and issue necessary recommendations.
He proposed to avoid regressive taxation, reforms were necessary with an aim to impose the rate of taxation in accordance with the different income groups, instead of the uniform taxes on poor and rich.
Secretary to the Tax Adviser Dr Arsalan Sabuktagin in a presentation on the FTO said formed in 2002, the statutory office had been providing speedy and cost-free redressal of any person’s grievances arising out of corruption or maladministration of the tax functionaries of the Federal Board of Revenue.
The complaint was registered with a number followed by an investigation by the adviser and the departmental response with a decision to be taken within 45 to 90 days, he added.
To promote good governance, he said, several motion cases were initiated by the FTO in areas of bogus registrations, fake invoices, smuggled vehicles, illegal gold exports, and electronic auction.
To facilitate the general public, the FTO was pursuing technology-based initiatives, including the CMIS content-sharing software, online facility and mobile application to file complaints and a user-friendly website with its Urdu version.
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