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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has decided to conduct an investigation against Large Taxpayer Office (LTO), Islamabad, for allegedly issuance of notices after lapse of seven years for declaring the income tax return of a company as "invalid", and directed the secretary Revenue Division to submit a reply against the allegations of maladministration.

It is learnt that the notice was taken by the FTO on the basis of five complaints filed by a taxpayer through Lahore based tax lawyer, Waheed Shahzad Butt against the LTO, Islamabad tax functionaries for issuing patently illegal notices under Section 120(3)/120(4) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 for tax years, 2014 to 2018 in the month of February 2021.

Official documents showed that the FTO has sought specific comments from Chief Commissioner IR, Commissioner IR, Commissioner Legal and Deputy Commissioners IR, in the case of what it called "maladministration of justice". The CCIR concerned being the internally notified IR ombudsperson, may like to share his findings and recommended action once the formal complaint was filed by the taxpayer/ complainant in the instant case.

The FTO notices state, you are required to submit reply to the allegations contained in the Complaint by 16.08.2021 as required under Section 10(4) of the FTO Ordinance, 2000, read with Section 9(1) of the FOIR Act 2013, especially on the following core issues. When was the return filed by the Taxpayer Company? Exact date may be confirmed after verification from the system. Issuance of any Notice within prescribed timelines calling for the short documents or making up deficiencies.

In case, where issuance of some patently illegal notice is contested by the taxpayer, and formal complaint is lodged with the concerned higher tax authorities, whether without addressing the issue of legality (either way) the taxpayer can be asked to comply with the notice alleged as illegal. The reference is CIR-Legal LTO letter No. 983 dated 12.04.2021. LTO Comments are required.

Moreover, is there any internal mechanism evolved for timely scrutiny of returns received, in place at LTO Islamabad, if any, may be shared so as to see the efficiency in handling of major revenue yielding cases at LTOs. Specific comments (CCIR and CIR concerned), the FTO order added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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