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PESHAWAR: Meeting of advisory committee to the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) was held at office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Islamabad to discuss measures to improve taxpayers’ facilitation through early redressal of issues raised by traders, public at large, international investors and corporations.

The meeting was chaired by the Federal Tax Ombudsman, Dr Asif Mahmood Jah (Hilal-i-Imtiaz) (Sitara-i-Imtiaz), according to press release issued here on Sunday. While speaking in 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 FBR involved in mal-practices.

He also informed that the recommendations has been issued to the FBR for resolution of refund related issues raised by the members of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, on his earlier visit, the same were complied with by the FBR .He further added, “The internees will also be appointed for door-to-door visit to the taxpayers for their awareness of FTO Office and for facilitation at door step.”

He stated that after joining the office as FTO, the average number of complaints’ registration has 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 FTO office will try to conduct Meetings of the Advisory Committee on quarterly basis.

The advisory committee members lauded the performance of FTO, apprised about tax related queries and gave an emphasis to share FTO’s publications in urdu version to promote tax awareness. The session concluded satisfactory. FTO Dr Asif Mehmood Jah, noted queries, suggestions and passed the direction 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, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, President Frontier Customs Agents Association, Peshawar, Ch 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 deregistration - corruption by tax administration - and undue notices. The participants appreciated the FTO’s forum for providing a listening ear to the complainants.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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