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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has yet to implement some major reform initiatives of the former PTI government including third party audit, Portal for non-filers based on National Database and Registration Authority’s tax profiles and formulation of Inland Revenue Code.

Tax experts told Business Recorder that the government may not implement the project of engaging third-party auditors for audit of income tax, sales tax, and federal excise duty cases of companies, Association of Persons (AoPs) and individuals.

The funds to outsource audits to chartered accountant firms have yet not been approved by the government. The higher cost is another area of consideration. Third party audit was planned to hire chartered accountant firms for audit to end interaction of FBR with the registered taxpayers. Moreover, the FBR’s interference in audit may be limited to the selection of cases under the approved parameters/ criteria for companies, association of persons and individuals categories of taxpayers.

The previous government wanted to select over 50,000 income tax cases for the third-party audit of companies, AOPs, and individuals for the tax year 2019. Now, the selection of audit cases through the risk-based audit parameters is expected to be carried out for the tax year 2019 through computerised balloting.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has already declared the FBR’s sectoral audit selection as illegal covering sectors of auto, ghee/ cooking oil industry, beverages, cement and oil marketing companies/ refineries.

So far, the FBR has still not launched the Web-portal for the non-filers of income tax returns under the documentation exercise. The FBR will upload the 3.5 million Nadra’s profiles of non-filers.

New portal: FBR decides to upload profiles of non-filers

In the past, the FBR had provided third-party data of 14 million people to the Nadra. The authority has mixed its own data with the FBR’s third-party records and finally developed profiles of non-filers. The Nadra has identified 3.5 million non-filers through applying three different methodologies using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The FBR will receive the profiles of the non-filers from the Nadra for subsequent uploading on the portal. If the Portal is launched, the FBR will give time period up to June 2022 to the non-filers to respond to the profiles available on the new portal. The FBR will also launch a massive media campaign in this regard. The non-filers would be allowed to file returns free of cost and the FBR will pay Rs5000 to the tax lawyers for filing of each income tax return of non-filers.

On April 16 (Saturday), the FBR held a meeting to review the progress on the formulation of Inland Revenue Code to combine Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, Sales Tax Act, 1990 and Federal Excise, 2005 by July 1, 2022.

During the meeting held last Saturday, the discussions continued on the simplification of the Inland Revenue Code, but apparently the exercise may take some more time. Besides, there are also Income Tax Rules, 2002, the Sales Tax Rules, 2006, the Federal Excise Rules, 2005, and the Islamabad Capital Territory (Sales Tax on Services) Rules, 2001. The harmonization and simplification of these laws would also change the languages of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, Sales Tax Act, 1990 and Federal Excise, 2005. Therefore, it is a complex process to redraft these all laws or combine the same. It would also need more time for the stakeholders to understand the revised, combined or simplified law, tax experts said.

The FBR wanted to enforce a new harmonised and simplified Inland Revenue Code from July 1, 2022, combining Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, Sales Tax Act, 1990, Federal Excise, 2005, and Islamabad Capital Territory (Sales Tax on Services) Ordinance, 2001.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Mujahid Sher Apr 20, 2022 04:18am
Well done PTI. Reforms in FBR are Imran Khan great achievements
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