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ISLAMABAD: The advisory committee to the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has suggested measures to minimise the delays in grant of refunds and resolve issues in deregistration, undue notices and check corruption in the tax administration.

The meeting of the advisory committee to the FTO was held at the office of the FTO, Islamabad to discuss measures to improve taxpayers’ facilitation through early redressal of issues raised by trade, public at large international investors and corporations.

The meeting was chaired by the FTO, Dr Asif Mahmood Jah.

While speaking in the Advisory Committee meeting, the FTO explained the mandate and functions of the Advisory Committee.

He stated that in a number of complaints, the issues raised by the complainants, were resolved on telephonic discussion or by forwarding SMS to the relevant tax functionaries under the FBR, by exercising the powers under Section 33 of the FTO Ordinance, 2000.

As in one complaint a consignment of tractors was stuck-up at Karachi port without any legal authority, the said consignment was released by the Collector within four hours after intervention by him through a telephonic conversation.

In another complaint, the issue has been resolved within seven days after completion of legal formalities by forwarding a SMS message to the concerned commissioner.

He informed the participants that the FTO Office has proposed disciplinary proceedings against 17 officers/officials of the FBR involved in mal-practices.

He also informed that the recommendations have been issued to the FBR for resolution of refund-related issues raised by the members of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on his earlier visit, the same were complied with by the FBR.

He further added that, “The internees will also [be] appointed for door-to-door visit to the taxpayers for their awareness of FTO Office and for facilitation at [their]doorstep”.

He stated that after joining the office as the FTO, the average number of complaints’ registration is gradually increased as compared to previous months, which showed the confidence of the taxpayers has increased in the Office of FTO Secretariat.

He expressed that the “suggestions and recommendations to improve tax system and resolution of taxpayers’ grievances, provided by the Members of the Committee, will be warmly welcomed, as this Office is the only institution, who provides cost free, transparent justice in a very short period of days.”

He also mentioned that the FTO office will try to conduct Meetings of the Advisory Committee on quarterly basis.

The advisory committee members lauded the performance of the FTO, apprised tax-related queries and gave an emphasis to share FTO’s publications in Urdu version to promote tax awareness.

The session concluded satisfactorily.

FTO Dr Jah, noted queries, suggestions, and passed directions on the spot.

Muhammad Ahmed, president, US-Pak Int’l CCI, Malik Sohail Hussain, secretary general, US-Pak Int’l CCI, Hasnain Khurshid, president, SCCI, Peshawar, Sohail Altaf, Group Leader, RCCI, Rawalpindi, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, president Frontier Customs Agents Association, Peshawar, Chaudhry Nadeem A Rauf, president, RCCI, Rawalpindi, attended the meeting, and gave proposals to improve the tax administration including measures to minimise the delays in grant of refunds; issues in de-registration; corruption by the tax administration, and undue notices.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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