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KARACHI: Member IR Operations, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed Saturday said that the FBR’s automated ‘Faster Plus’ system for Sales Tax refund has fully addressed all kinds of interruptions and refund claims amounting to Rs250 billion were released during last six months.

Addressing the members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Ashfaq said that Faster Plus system, which has become operational since October 1, 2020, was one of the best systems of the world in which refund claims are processed within 42 to 72 hours without any human intervention as soon as the claimant completes the eight steps required by the system for processing claims. “There is also a realization now to broaden the tax base which would ease the pressure on existing taxpayers,” he added.

One the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG Zubair Motiwala and Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Shariq Vohra, Senior Vice President Saqib Goodluck, Vice President KCCI Shamsul Islam Khan and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present.

“I can assure you that we have reviewed such products of all regional countries but Faster Plus is better than any regional country and is one of the best refund systems in the world,” Dr Ashfaq added.

He said to facilitate payment of income tax refunds a similar system was being formulated so that IT Refunds could also be settled within the minimum possible time while all the previous IT refund claims were being settled as soon as possible. “As the government is highly committed and we are paying at a tremendous pace, the entire IT refund backlog will be settled by the end of this year,” he added.

The Member IR elaborated that Faster Plus has fully addressed all kinds of interruptions and stuck up issues which were being suffered by the taxpayers in the previous system. The system has just eight checks before processing the refund claims and if there is a problem, the system will automatically notify the defects in refund claim it will give solution and also notify that who could resolve the issue.

He informed that over the past six months, the FBR has released refund claims of Rs250 billion which was an unprecedented amount. “Although things are improving and we are trying our best to facilitate the taxpayers but the country deserves a much better public finance system hence, efforts are underway at FBR’s head office. where we work for 18 hours a day to resolve the issues being faced by the existing taxpayers, besides exploring ways and means of how to enhance the country’s tax base,” he added.

Referring to new rules announced by the FBR for video surveillance, Dr. Ashfaq said that this was in favor of the industrialists as it would avoid human intervention which usually leads to malpractices.

He said that as technology is the only solution, there FBR decided to implement video analytics and it was heartening to see that many industries from different sectors want to get the video analytics implemented in their business premises at the earliest.

Responding to concerns expressed over numerous laws and policies, he said that Federal Board of Revenue was not responsible for framing these laws and policies as the department was just an enforcement outfit. All the legal points and policy-related issues must be raised in front of the parliamentarians and FBR will also forward them but it was eventually the parliament which is empowered to amend laws.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020