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ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman has noted with concern that the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) field formations are not maintaining IT-based tracking system to follow up big tax evasion cases unearthed in field offices.

The FTO Monday recommended the FBR to devise an institutionalised internal follow up system for significant cases involving recovery of unpaid amount of taxes.

An in-House analysis by the office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman has identified that nor its any single FBR field formation maintains any IT-based tracking system, any exhaustive, fool proof and IT module or any institutionalized internal follow up system for the cases unearthed by its own formations. However, the FBR and its dozens of field formations, maintain an organized web portal and full-fledged home grown IT support system i.e. Pakistan Automation (PVT) LTD (PRAL).

The FTOs analysis has unearthed a number of potential cases of tax evasion. The FTO office took up one major case of M/s. Hope 87 Pakistan, a detailed Investigation Report and case study was prepared after the case examination. It was confirmed that in this case shared by Directorate General (DG), BTB FBR.

This valuable information was duly shared in December, 2018 with the concerned field formations for taking action against said entities for not declaring true particulars of their receipts/income and not discharging their responsibilities as withholding agents. However in 2019, FBR management suddenly shelved this whole BTB regime overnight; disbanding BTB Zones Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Office of DG BTB was relegated to a ceremonial entity assigned as additional charge. Thus in addition to losing an effective organization, the repository of the whole above data/information was suddenly rendered extinct.

FTO’s investigation clearly established that information passed by DG BTB in December, 2018 had neither been utilized before the intervention made by the office nor analyzed vis-a-vis ground position of the entity in question.

None of the field officers of FBR holding jurisdiction over the instant case during December, 2018 and November, 2021 was vigilant enough to initiate the action which has been initiated after 03 years and that too after the intervention of FTO Secretariat.

Federal Tax Ombudsman has now held that, negligence and inefficiency on the part of FBR officials in enforcing various provisions of law in major revenue potential cases is tantamount to maladministration.

Federal Tax Ombudsman directed FBR to direct the Chief Commissioner IR, CTO, Islamabad to ensure that action initiated in the instant case, after three years’ delay may be expedited and finalized on priority basis.

FTO has also observed that FBR lacks an IT based tracking system archiving for such cases and recommended for devising an institutionalised internal follow up system for significant cases involving recovery and follow up on implementation of rules.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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