LAHORE: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah has said that 90 percent of the complaints by the business community go in their favor on the average.
He said the complainants have the option of appeal to FTO or of even filing a representation with the constitutional office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah added that FTO cannot directly reprimand the tax and customs officials; but, he can make his observations on misuse of powers, maladministration, anomalies, harassment and corruption; and, those are taken seriously. Another limitation of the FTO is that we can not take up cases which have been already taken up by any court of law and are subjudice. Explaining the other functions of the institution of FTO, Dr. Jah said that inspections, own-motion actions and research are also mandated.
Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah also stated that he wants to expedite the turnaround time for resolution of complaints from 60 days to 60 hours. He also agreed to FPCCI’s demand of setting up help desks at FPCCI offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, President FPCCI, has proposed that tax adjudication cases to be handled under the supervision of the office of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FT0) for a fair, neutral, transparent and competent resolution of tax notices.
Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo said that FPCCI appreciates FTO’s recent notice and report on the misuse of powers by FBR officials in issuing fake notices and accessing bank accounts of the taxpayers unnecessarily. He apprised the audience that it has been FPCCI’s longstanding demand to have a well-reputed, fearless, competent and senior officer appointed as FTO Pakistan.
Highlighting the major issues with income tax cases, FPCCI President said that discrimination, delay, injustice, non-transparency and non-payment of refunds are plaguing the taxation system of the country and that is the reason FPCCI recommends sweeping reforms in the system.
Hanif Lakhany, VP FPCCI, said that the business community is, for the first time, feeling secure and protected against the tax and customs officials’ harassment and highhandedness; due to the fair redressal by the office of FTO. He also thanked the government for having the right man for the right job.
Nasir Khan, VP FPCCI, expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the office of FTO; but, maintained that the tax and customs authorities use time-delay and procrastinating tactics to avoid swift redressal of the issues of business, industry and trade community. In order to resolve these grievances, FTO should be given the authority to reprimand and punish the corrupt officers.