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ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has rejected 11 representations filed by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) against the recommendations made by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO).

The president has also warned the FBR to avoid frivolous litigation against the taxpayers at the forums of tribunals, High Courts, the FTO, and the Presidency.

On January 20, 2022, the president of Pakistan has rejected 11 representations filed by the apex revenue body against various aggrieved redressal made by the FTO in complaint numbers; 0428/KHI/ST/2021,3289/GWL/IT/2021,0725/LHR/ST/2021,0607/MLN/IT/2021,3079/GWL/IT/2021,0513/PWR/CUST/2021,0135/GWL/IT/2021,0588/KHI/ST/2021,0054/KHI/IT/2021,0271/LHR/CUST/2021,0260/LHR/CUST/2021,0259/LHR/CUST/2021.

These complaints related to unfair behaviors by the tax employees, attachment of a unit without serving an O-IN-O, delay in processing of refunds, rejection of tax refund without providing an opportunity of hearing, implementation of orders in cases there was no stay by the Appellate tribunal and the FBR’s Non consideration of State Bank Rules.

The president reprimanded the FBR officials to stop behaving unfairly and unreasonably and directed fair a quick processing of all such cases. In a customs case M/S Abdullah & Co (the complainant) stated that on 09-07-2019 the staff of Anti-smuggling Organization (ASO), Mianwali intercepted a truck loaded with 195 drums of customs Bitumen alleging to be of Iranian-origin, being transported from Karachi to Turnol. The impugned goods of the complainant were seized. The original adjudicating authority and Collector Appeals, Faisalabad ordered goods to be released upon payment of duty/taxes and redemption fine.

The Dept failed to implement the said order despite, lapse of 15 months. The complainant; therefore, took up the matter with the FTO by filing complaint under section 10(1) of the FTO Ordinance 2000, and subsequent review petition with the president.

The president ordered refund of duty taxes and fine of Rs1.732 million to the complainant as there was no stay order by the higher fora.

In an income tax matter a trading company made supplies of tiles and used clothing to the end consumer during the period from 2013 -2014 to 2016-2017 and adjudged an amount of Rs11.331 million as “further tax’’ along with penalty to be recoverable from the complainant. The tax department, without serving the order-in-original (O–in-O) recovered an amount of Rs8.994 million through attachment of the complainant’s Bank account.

The complainant preferred an appeal under the relevant section 45-B before the Commissioner I-R, Karachi, which was allowed and the O-in- O was annulled.

The complainant approached the RTO-III, Karachi for refunding of the amount recovered illegally but failed to evoke any response who ordered to the department to process the case but the FBR filed a review petition with the president.

The president in his concluding remarks clearly said that there is thus, no valid justification to interfere with the orders of the FTO and the president is pleased to reject these representations.

The president also observed that the FBR must act fairly in dealing with taxpayers and to abide by the law governing it. If any benefit accrues to the taxpayers under the law, time must not be needlessly wasted.

He warned that frivolous litigation also wasted the time of tribunal, the High Court, the FTO and the Presidency and this should be avoided. He finally directed that time should be spent in resolving legitimate disputes between the taxpayers and tax collectors providing a fair chance to the aggrieved taxpayers and ease of doing business to the citizen.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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