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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), Dr Asif Mahmood Jah, Thursday, clarified that his speech in Lahore to tax officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was referred to the honest tax officials against whom the FTO office would not take any action.

Talking to media here on Thursday, the FTO said that no action would be taken against the honest tax officials, but the corrupt tax officials would not be spared. He clarified that he was referring to the honest officials during his speech in Lahore.

The FTO said that the mandate of the FTO office was to resolve the taxpayers’ grievances; therefore, the taxpayers having such complaints of harassment by the tax officials must lodge their complaints with the FTO.

Dr Jah said that the corrupt officers of the FBR would not be spared at any cost. He clarified his November 22 statement with regard to no action against the FBR officials.

He stated that he took the officers in confidence that the officers, who were not involved in any corruption, need not worry as no action would be taken against them but the corrupt officers would not be relieved in any case.

Without disclosing the names, he said that the FTO office has conducted investigations against 15 tax officers during the last two months.

Moreover, the tax department has also started investigations against a commissioner on the recommendation of the FTO.

The FTO also spoke about the taxpayers complaints with specific reference to performance during the past two months.

He said that the ultimate objective of the FTO is to facilitate, facilitate, and facilitate the taxpayers.

He said that the FTO desks have been established at all airports to resolve the custom-related complaints there and then. Continuing, Dr Jah said that we are only due to Pakistan. “This country has given us respect, dignity and identity and we must pay back its loan by working with extreme honesty, commitment, and dedication.”

He termed taxpayers as the backbone of the national economy and said that he will work as their advocate. “I am ready to go to any forum including chairman FBR or member customs for the immediate redressal of their genuine complaints”.

While speaking to the national media, he said that he received a message from Karachi that a consignment of 130 tractors had been stopped despite clearing all the duties. He said that he himself talked to the Commissioner Karachi and the consignment was released within only four hours.

Regarding yet another intervention of the FTO, he said that an automobile company received 17 percent sales tax at the time of booking cars but at the time of delivery it was reduced to 12 percent. He said that he intervened in this issue and ordered a refund of the extra sales tax received from the concerned persons. He said that the chairman FBR has also been directed to ensure implementation of this order.

He requested the taxpayers to submit their workable proposals and assured that he will try his optimum best to implement the same.

The FTO on November 26, 2021, requested the secretary Petroleum division (Ministry of Energy) to expedite the grant of permanent license to the M/S HI-TECH, which has been inordinately delayed without any reason or lawful authority by the OGRA.

The FTO, as per the act, can take up the maladministration matter of the FBR.

He simply requested secretary petroleum to issue the permanent license as the company’s Rs2billion revenue has been stuck up.

He also said that the office has received 636 complaints from the public against the maladministration of the FBR officials during the past two months. Out of the total, 360 complaints were either accepted or recommendations were made to the FBR for redressal of the complaints, he added.

He also said that he was actively engaged with the chambers of commerce and industries of all major cities besides holding meetings with tax bar representatives to ensure compliance with the complaints since taking office.

The FTO added unlike the past practice, he himself was overseeing the cases personally and trying to promptly resolve the complaints of the taxpayers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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