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ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) has approached the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) against the multiple windows of Inland Revenue Service (IRS) operating at Corporate Tax Offices, Medium Tax Offices and Large Tax Offices, creating complications for the taxpayers across the country.

According to a communication of the FPCCI to the FBR Chairman Javed Ghani here on Tuesday, the FBR has opened multiple windows in IRS operations instead of facilitating and squeezing to single window operation. The issue was raised to restore the earlier system of one zone instead of dividing the same in two zones of Audit and Enforcement.

Earlier, assessment, refund and recovery actions and allied proceedings used to be initiated and finalized by one zonal commissioner having simultaneous jurisdiction of Audit and Enforcement. Now Member IRS has changed the single window IRS operations to multiple windows presently in CTOs, MTO, LTOs all over Pakistan, assessments are made in one zone, whereas enforcement functions are carried out by another Zonal Commissioner of Enforcement, which creates lot of problems for taxpayers as reported by our members to the apex body, the FPCCI stated.

Further in addition to the hardships faced by FPCCI members who also raised issue of receiving/getting information that various notices of similar nature on audits, recoveries, WHT, sales tax and income tax earlier received from single zone are also being received now from other zones after functional bifurcation. Most of the cases are duplication/triplication of the same nature charges claimed against taxpayers. The cost of compliance and securing legal services also increases enormously and unnecessarily due to bifurcation of the system by Member IRS operation.

The Member IRS has massively transferred cases by resorting to intercity and interprovincial transfer of cases and their jurisdiction. This has created hardship for the business community, it said.

In view of foregoing, it is requested to merge both zonal functions of Audit and Enforcement in one zone so that hardships of taxpayers may be minimized and businessmen can focus on their business activities instead of engaging in defense of multiple show cause notices of similar nature from both the zones.

The FBR should stop the change of jurisdiction and intercity and interprovincial transfer of cases, which does not at all read with the simplification of system as the transfer of cases say for example from Quetta to Karachi is not at all justifiable as this will increase the cost of doing business and moreover the change of jurisdiction also does not appear to be a normal procedure and is against the facilitation doctrine being claimed by FBR Member IRS Operation.

The FBR should restore the earlier system of single zone operation and stop intercity and interprovincial change of jurisdictions, the FPCCI added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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