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ISLAMABAD: The finance minister accorded approval to the establishment of “Tax Policy Unit” under the administrative control of the Finance Division to suggest holistic proposals for mobilising revenue generation with greater autonomy.

A meeting of the FBR Policy Board meeting presided over by the finance minister on Thursday decided that a new setup would be created that would have members from the FBR and also engage fiscal and economic experts from academia, think tanks, and the private sector to present holistic proposals for mobilising revenue generation with greater autonomy.

Earlier, the FBR made a presentation to the meeting regarding establishment of Tax Policy Unit, in accordance with the decision of the cabinet dated 29 November, 2018, and members of the Policy Board, highlighting the advantages of keeping tax policy function independent of administrative function.

After deliberation, the finance minister accorded approval to the decision.

The Tax Policy Unit would work out policy recommendations for domestic tax collection on the lines of the National Tariff Commission, which operates under the Ministry of Commerce.

A top government official told Business Recorder that the FBR's direct intervention into the tax policy matters would be reduced after creation of the Tax Policy Unit.

The Rules of Business 1973 assign the business of tax policy to the Revenue Division.

It also empowers the Revenue Division in the matter of revenue administration.

The Revenue Division was expected to formulate tax policy in consultation with the ministries and divisions, but the function is solely performed by the FBR.

The government wants to implement the signature tax reforms of the incumbent government envisaging separation of tax policy and administration, the official added.

The federal cabinet had approved to separate tax policy from revenue administration, and constituted a committee to work out legal and technical modalities to this effect. The FBR’s Technical Committee apprised the Policy Board about the measures taken to identify anomalies and simplify the taxation system for better understanding of the business community.

The FBR requested to include senior representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industries and Production for better coordination and effective policy making in this regard.

Chairman, Complaint Oversight Committee (COC) briefed the Policy Board about the working of a newly-developed complaint portal which is currently running on trial basis.

The complaint resolution system is designed to facilitate businessmen, traders, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and large tax payers.

All complaints can be filed at one place.

The SOPs for complaint resolution and oversight by the COC are being finalised and system would be formally launched soon.

The Finance Minister directed to disseminate relevant information about the working of complaint registration mechanism and ensure the contact details are readily available for public consumption.

He further directed the FBR to expedite the process of income tax refunds of less than Rs50 million to uphold commitment of the government to facilitate taxpayers.

Federal Minister for Privatisation Muhamma-dmian Soomro, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, the chairman FBR, senior members of the FBR, and representatives of the private sector participated in the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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