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The discretionary powers of FBR used to harass business community : FPCCI

Lahore : The discretionary powers of Federal Board of Revenue officer are being used to harass business community and industrialists that is disturbing healthy business activities via raiding at business premises and investigative official records. Tax anomalies related the discretionary powers given to the Federal Board of Revenue officials should also be amended or withdrawn immediately.

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman & Vice President Abdul Rauf Mukhtar expressed these views while talking to the business community of Punjab here at Federation’s Regional Office Lahore.

He has called upon the Federal Board of Revenue to include the names of those taxpayers into the Active Taxpayers List (ATL) who had filed tax returns after 31st December 2018 so that they could avail the benefits of active taxpayers.

Rauf Mukhtar said that due to overload of work, slow speed of FBR e-filing system and other genuine reasons, many taxpayers could not file their tax returns before 31st December 2018, but managed to file them after due date. However, FBR has excluded the names of such late filers from the Active List of Taxpayers (ATL) issued on March 1, 2019, which was not a positive measure. He stressed that FBR should classify late taxpayers as filers so that they could run business smoothly and have more confidence in the tax system.

They further said that instead of taking measures that would shatter the confidence of late filers and discourage tax culture in the country; FBR should take steps that should extend maximum facilitation to taxpayers. They were of the view that without taking facilitative measures for filers, it would be very difficult to bring more people into the tax net and expand the tax base of the country.

FPCCI lamented, “ The FBR instead of setting its own house in order and identifying black sheeps in its ranks and files has again resorted to draconian law, which reminds of colonial rule, at the cost of business community “.

He added that it would serve as a disincentive for the potential taxpayers to come in the tax net and run as counter-productive to the government efforts of broadening of tax base through persuasion instead of prosecution. He apprehended that it would also erode the confidence of a taxpayer in the tax law, a pre-requisite for success of any scheme.

He argued, “This is against the true spirit of law and an anti-facilitation measure for taxpayers who have fulfilled their responsibility as compliant taxpayers. It will also run as a counter-productive to the government efforts for broadening of tax base and documentation of economy.

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