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    Thursday, 3 May 2018

    FTO is safeguarding the interests of tax-payers- Mushtaq Sukhera

    MULTAN, May 3rd: Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera has stressed the need of further betterment in tax payment and tax collection systems for providing maximum relief to the tax payers and the exporters.He said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should remove hurdles from the smooth way of promotion of national exports by reducing the prolonged pendency of the customs, income tax and sales tax refunds claims, in this regard. Addressing a meeting of member of Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) chaired by acting President Begum Romana Tanvir Sheikh
    He stated this while addressing a meeting of the Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) chaired by acting President Begum Romana Tanvir Sheikh . Vice President Khawaja Muhammad Farooq, Ex-President Khawaja Muhammad Yousaf, ex-President of FPCCI Mian Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh , Muhammad Anwar Saleem Keen(Convener of Taxation committee)Khawaja Muhammad Fazil Chairman of Multan Dryport Trust, Khurram Javed butt Secretary General of MCCI, Ex President of Multan Tax Bar Association,Muhammad Younas Ghazi FTO Multan's Director Salim Raza Asif , Mirza Ali Ahmed, Khawaja Muhammad Hussain also attended the meeting.Sukhera said that the FTO Office continued to pursue the policy of expeditious investigation and timely disposal of the complaints, employing the techniques of business process re-engineering (BPR), capacity building, and IT enablement. As a consequence, the FTO Office took on average two months  to dispose of a taxpayer’s complaint during 2017-18. Over 70 percent of the complaints were decided within 60 days of their receipt, while less than 10 percent took more than 90 days owing to the complexities involved. Our target for 2018 is to further reduce the time taken in disposal of complaints through an increased use of IT-networking of our offices and web-based complaint management system.the FTO redressed the grievances of the taxpayers without going through the cumbersome process of formal hearings, which is a welcome change on the part of tax officials, while 1200 complaints were decided after formal hearings. The FTO's findings and recommendations resulted in the refund of more than Rs3 billion to the aggrieved taxpayers during the year. Out of 1200 decided cases, the FBR and tax payers went into Reviews and Representations in a total of 47  cases. Thus, the FBR and taxpayers accepted nearly 97 percent of the FTO
    decisions, indicating a high level of trust in this institution by both the parties.During the investigation into complaints, the FTO Office came across cases in which tax departments dodged the taxpayers for years .There were instances showing tax officials did not even implement the decisions given in favour of taxpayers by the Appellate Tribunals or the higher judiciary. The extent of maladministration can be gauged by the fact senior tax officials at times blatantly misstated facts during certain hearings before the FTO and forged entries in the documents to hide their maladministration. It has been observed that weak mechanism of in house accountability of tax officials encourages recurrence of the same kind of maladministration and needs to be tackled by the
    FBR. In 2018, the Government has taken several measures  for rectification of systemic problems .
    Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera added that the FBR should ensure the early payment of the duty drawback, income tax and sales tax refunds claims for ensuring the smooth flow of cash in the industry, saying that the FBR should ensure the maximum facilities to the tax payers, besides, averting to put additional financial load on the shoulders of the exporters in shape of levy of the additional taxes as well.He added that the FBR should also remove all the hurdles from the way of promotion of national exports.
    FTO Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera stated that all out sincere efforts were also being made to ensure the early implementation of the decisions made by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), saying that FTO  had been playing a pivotal role effectively in resolving the exporters’ tax-related issues amicably .FTO assured the MCCI member that their tax related problems would be solved on priority.Salim Raza Asif ,Director of FTO Multan  asked the taxpayers that they could approach the FTO Secretariat in case of any maladministration by the income and sales tax officials.He assured them that the secretariat would immediately address the complaints and would also take measures to avoid such problems in the future.
    Saying that the business community was aware of its tax liabilities, he emphasised that the FTO was striving to promote tax culture in Pakistan by facilitating the taxpayers and creating confidence in the new and potential taxpayers. In her welcome address Begum Romana Tanvir Sheikh said that FTO should take decisions boldly to provide relief to the tax-payers and it should implement on its verdicts forcefully. She said that taking advantage of section 9(2) (b) of FTO ordinance, every complaint regarding wrong assessment of taxation were being rejected while section 18 is being neglected which empower the FTO to take action. She further said that FTO should not play its role as bargaining agent for settlement.She said that FTO should not issue brief decision and it must issue elaborated decisions.She  said the business community was contributing 60% to the total tax revenues but the taxpayers and collectors were always at daggers drawn due to procedural discrepancies.
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    Item Reviewed: FTO is safeguarding the interests of tax-payers- Mushtaq Sukhera Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Asqamar