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LAHORE: Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera has urged the business community to utlize the services of his office for resolving their tax related issues without fee and tax consultant/lawyer.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah presented the address of welcome while Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.

Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera said that according to the law, Federal Tax Ombudsman is bound to take decision in 60 days but average decision time is 45 days. He said that the Federal Board of Revenue is bound to implement the decisions of Federal Tax Ombusman.

He said that FBR was selecting 40 to 50 thousands cases for random audit. Whereas, their capacity for audit is only ten thousand cases. This practice was causing harassment among the taxpayers and the business community. Now FBR has stopped this practice. He said that the actions have been taken against the FBR officials who were involved in harassment among the business community.

Federal Tax Ombudsman said that a separate unit for tax refunds has been established in the FBR with the efforts of the department. He said that suggestions of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry will be welcomed.

LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that the Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman has great significance, particularly for the business community for resolution of their Tax related issues.

He said it has been observed that there is an issue of swift implementation of the decisions made by Federal Tax Ombudsman Office. Quite often, delays have been observed in compliance of the decisions by various Tax Officials. It is, therefore, recommended that the implementation mechanism should be strengthened and made more efficient.

The LCCI President said that whenever the representatives of Tax Authorities are called by Federal Tax Ombudsman office in cases regarding business community, these officials resort to delaying tactics. This results in demurrages, especially in case of clearing their shipments and hence increases the cost of doing business. The strengthening of implementation mechanism as mentioned in the previous point will also help to address this issue.

Mian Tariq Misbah said that the majority of cases in Federal Tax Ombudsman Office are related to payment of refunds. An announcement in this regard has already been made in the Federal Budget 2021-22, where Government has promised to introduce a centralized automated refund system with no requirement for application and verification. He recommended that implementation on this system should be expedited. It will certainly help in curtailing the present workload of your office.

He said that the Federal Tax Ombudsman Office should consult the tax taxpayers on regular basis to get a firsthand knowledge about the relevant issues of business community. This will also help the Federal Tax Ombudsman Office to give better input to policy makers for the formulation of good policies.

The LCCI President said that a representative of Lahore Chamber of Commerce should be included in the Advisory Board of FTO office for better representation of business community.

He said that the Federal Tax Ombudsman Office should hold seminars and awareness sessions in Lahore Chamber of Commerce so that our members are better aware about utilizing the services of FTO office for solving their tax issues.

LCCI Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said that the Chambers of Commerce are non-profit trade bodies and are serving the business community therefore they should be given exemption from taxes.

Executive Committee Member Haji Muhammad Asif Sehar, Mardan Ali Zaidi, Zeeshan Sohail Malik, Fayyaz Haider, Dr Riaz Ahmad and Saleem Asghar Bhatti were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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