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ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera said, Thursday, that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) can address all systemic issues by using IT and automation for broadening the tax base, eradicating corruption, and eliminating direct interaction between the tax officials and the taxpayers.

Talking to Business Recorder at the FTO Office here on Wednesday, Sukhera stated that the FTO office had ensured timely implementation of the FTO orders by the FBR.

There were complaints of victimisation of taxpayers, who filed complaints with the FTO Office against the FBR.

The FTO office has dully addressed the issue and ensured that no such incidents take place.

He said FTO Office had taken serious notice of selection of certain cases of salaried class for audit under the random balloting system.

The FTO has also asked the FBR to select only that percentage for audit, which can be effectively audited by the tax officers.

The FBR should apply risk-based parameters to select only potential and big cases for audit instead of salaried persons and small units.

He said the government had implemented certain viable proposals of the FTO office in the last Finance Act, 2021.

He said the FTO office had played very important role in checking cases of maladministration in the tax machinery.

When asked about the change in the mindset of the tax machinery, he said “we cannot see the mindset of the tax officials in isolation.”

This has to be seen in the broader context of the society.

The mindset of the society is also reflected in the FBR.

The FTO added that the complaint redressal mechanism of the FTO provided relief to the public and taxpayers, aggrieved of maladministration of tax officials.

The FTO Ordinance also empowers the FTO to take Own Motion cognisance of maladministration.

The FTO has issued findings and recommendations in some very important cases of the mal-administration.

He explained that in the past, focus of work was limited to individual complaints.

However, he expanded the scope of jurisdiction fully as per his mandate under the FTO Ordinance, 2000, by initiating own motion cases, inspections and research work to tackle the systemic issues in administration of tax system.

With his new team of dedicated advisors having established professional competence and integrity, complaints were being disposed of in the shortest time, followed by ensuring the implementation of the decisions made thereon.

He said FBR should have access to all kinds of data available with various departments and agencies for the purpose of broadening the tax base.

According to him, the revival of inspection regime was necessary to ensure monitoring of performance of field officers. The internal audit department of the FBR needs to be strengthened to have a proper check on its officials.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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