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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to formulate a new policy on e-audit of taxpayers, keeping in view its long-term implications on audit, revenue collection, and registered units.

Sources told the Business Recorder Wednesday that the FBR's audit wing had actively started working on the decision of implementing e-audit of taxpayers.

In this regard, the FBR will finalise the policy after taking input from all relevant FBR members including Member Legal and FBR Member Inland Revenue Operations.

"Electronic auditing, or e-auditing, is computer-assisted auditing, which uses electronic records to complete all or part of the audit of the taxpayers maintaining records electronically. It is a faceless audit and the declared information would be matched with the FBR's own database and discrepancies would be identified, so that the physical interaction with the taxpayers should be ended. A number of trial runs are required before implementation of the e-audit system," a tax expert explained.

One of the major decisions of the FBR is the implementation of the e-audit in the FBR's field formations of the Large Taxpayer Units (LTUs) and Regional Tax Offices (RTOs).

According to the FBR's Taxpayer Audit Wing, the e-audit process of the taxpayers is a decision involving both the tax policy and operational matters, which requires input of all the relevant FBR Members.

Both the positive and negative aspects of the e-audit would be analysed by the FBR, the sources maintained.

The FBR is very cautious about the policy of the e-audit as it would be a major departure from the existing audit techniques and would totally change the perception of audit among the registered taxpayers.

Under the framework on reforms, the risk-based audit is also one of the key initiatives under the reform plan.

Under the reform plan, the FBR will completely automate system for allocation of cases for audit with the help of data analysis and business intelligence tools.

It is proposed that 90 percent of the audit should be conducted of the large taxpaying units.

As per Audit Policy-2019 for Tax Year 2018, the FBR will select cases of income tax, sales tax and the Federal Excise Duty (FED) for audit on the basis of risk-based parameters through computer balloting.

Out of total filers, 0.76 percent of income tax cases would be picked for audit; sales tax 1.67 percent cases, and the FED 5.65 percent cases would be selected for audit, according to Audit Policy-2019.

In Tax Year 2017, the FBR selected 14,164 cases for audit of income tax, sales tax and federal excise duty through The Audit Policy, 2019 shall apply to persons or classes of persons falling under all or any of the three domestic Federal Tax Statutes, ie, Income Tax Ordinance 2001, Sales Tax Act 1990, and the Federal Excise Act 2005.

The FBR has added that criteria for selection of cases (for all taxes) for Tax Year 2018 would be parametric.

Cases will be selected on scientific approach for which a software has been designed and put in place named as "Risk Based Audit Management System" (RAMS).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020