Federal Tax Ombudsman offers free services to businessmen

Staff Reporter BOL News

16th Aug, 2021. 06:36 pm
Tax Ombudsman

LAHORE: Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera has urged the business community to utilise the services of his office for resolving their tax-related issues without fee and tax consultant/lawyer.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sukhera said that according to the law, the Federal Tax Ombudsman is bound to take decisions in 60 days but an average decision time is 45 days. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is bound to implement the decisions of the Federal Tax Ombudsman, he added.

Sukhera also said that the FBR was selecting 40,000 to 50,000 cases for random audit, whereas, their capacity for the audit is only 10,000 cases.

This practice was causing harassment among the taxpayers’ and the business community. Now, the revenue board has stopped this practice, he said, adding that the actions have been taken against the FBR officials who were involved in harassment among the business community.

The Federal Tax Ombudsman said a separate unit for tax refunds has been established in the FBR with the efforts of the department, adding that the suggestions of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be welcomed.

Presenting the address of welcome, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that the office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman has a great significance, particularly for the business community for the resolution of their tax-related issues.

It has been observed that there is an issue of swift implementation of the decisions made by the Federal Tax Ombudsman Office, he added.

Quite often, delays have been observed in the compliance with the decisions by various tax officials, Misbah said, adding that it is; therefore, recommended that the implementation mechanism should be strengthened and made more efficient.

The LCCI president said whenever the representatives of the tax authorities are called by the Federal Tax Ombudsman office in cases regarding the business community, these officials resort to delaying tactics.

This results in demurrages, especially in the case of clearing their shipments and; hence, increases the cost of doing business.

The strengthening of the implementation mechanism, as mentioned in the previous point, will also help address this issue, he added.

Misbah said that the majority of the cases in the Federal Tax Ombudsman office are related to refunds payment. An announcement in this regard had already been made in the Federal Budget 2021/22, where the government has promised to introduce a centralised automated refund system with no requirement for application and verification.

He recommended that implementation on this system should be expedited, as it will certainly help curtail the present workload of the office.

The Federal Tax Ombudsman office should consult the taxpayers on a regular basis to get a firsthand knowledge about the relevant issues of the business community. This will also help the Federal Tax Ombudsman office to give better input to the policymakers for the formulation of good policies.

The LCCI president said a representative of the Lahore Chamber should be included in the Advisory Board of the FTO office for better representation of the business community.

The Federal Tax Ombudsman office should hold seminars and awareness sessions in the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry to give awareness to the LCCI members about the utilisation of the services of the FTO office for resolving their tax issues, he added.

LCCI vice president Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said that the chambers of commerce are non-profit trade bodies and are serving the business community; therefore, they should be given tax exemptions.

LCCI Executive Committee members Haji Muhammad Asif Sehar, Mardan Ali Zaidi, Zeeshan Sohail Malik, Fayyaz Haider, Dr Riaz Ahmad and Saleem Asghar Bhatti were also present on the occasion.

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