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ISLAMABAD: FBR’s automation process of refund of Sales Tax had started in 2002 through introduction of STARR system which was semi-automated system and refund claimants would file refund claims through Refund Claims Preparatory System (RCPS). Refund data was taken to field offices on CDs where the refund claims were sanctioned at field level.

In the year 2011, ERS was introduced for processing of refund claims of manufacturers-cum-exporters who could file their refund claims online whereas STARR system continued for processing of refund claims for other sectors. In the aftermath of the rollback of zero rating, FASTER was introduced with effect from July, 2019 for processing of refund claims of ex-zero rated exporters at a fast pace of 72 hours. Since the system was newly made, many system glitches marred proper working of FASTER system. Since its beginning, due to these technical glitches in the FASTER system, refund claimants faced problems like many of the cases stuck up at pre-processing stage, missing amount of refunds, no intimation about the status of refund and delays in processing and sanctioning of refunds. System was also new for refund claimants and erroneous filing of refund claims through Annex-H was rampant.

However, IR Operation Wing of FBR along with PRAL in July, 2020 started the task of overhauling the FASTER system to make it glitch-free and completely transparent with end-to-end fully automated.

Due to FASTER Plus System, Sales Tax refund claims of exporters which were stuck up at pre-processing stage in the FASTER system due to any reason including erroneous filing stand rolled back to claimants to provide an opportunity to exporters to review and resubmit their claims after removing shortcomings. The step allowed refunds to thousands of refund claimants to get their long stuck up refunds.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020