ISLAMABAD: Taking a big step to facilitate general public, Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Mahmood Jah has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to place names of all (manual) filers of income tax returns in the latest Active Taxpayer List (ATL).
In this regard, the FTO has issued a directive to the FBR on Friday.
The FTO has ordered Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to adopt some mechanism and put in place an SOP to ensure that all (Manual) filers of income tax returns for the latest tax year are active as per ATL issued by the FBR.
A leading tax lawyer, Waheed Shahzad Butt, had highlighted this anomaly before the FTO in a public interest complaint, wherein FTO ordered to conduct an investigation and summoned heads of FBR-IR Policy, Operations, Legal wings and Member Information Technology at FTO Regional Office at Lahore, wherein after consultation matter has been resolved without going into litigation and wasting tax money in futile litigation.
When contacted, Waheed Shahzad Butt told this correspondent that despite the FBR’s responsibility to ensure fair and equitable taxation for all citizens, it has come to light that manual filers of tax returns have illegally been discriminated against electronically filed returns.
This failure to cater to the specific needs of this vulnerable segment of the taxpayer community has drawn sharp criticism from various quarters. Waheed further added that a categorical written intimation/ information regarding blatant violation of Rule 73 of Income Tax Rules 2002 by FBR and the illegal exclusion of some taxpayers from the ATL database, was moved but all in vain.
The FBR, in direct violation of Rule 73, has deemed/ treated the manually filed income tax return for the Tax Year 2022 as “inactive,” despite it being filed within the time specified by law.
The FTO order states “Complaint was filed against illegal exclusion of taxpayer from Active Taxpayer List, in violation of FBR Act, 2007 read with Section 206 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001. Dept submitted comments mainly contended that the matter is under process at Board’s level as communicated to this office.
During hearing, the AR intimated that FBR has activated the Complainant on ATL, therefore, needful has been done. Further AR argued that FBR must take some solid measures to remove such lapses and irritants for benefit of general public and other individuals/taxpayers suffering from such injustices despite having filed their returns.
The FBR to adopt some mechanism and put in place an SOP to ensure that all filers of returns for the latest tax year are active as per ATL issued by the Board and no omissions recur in this regard which may give rise to such complaints, the FTO order added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023