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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), while disposing of the complaint of a customer of the telecom company has asked the company to issue a tax deduction certificate and has accordingly, directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to settle the refund claim of the complainant.

In the subject complaint filed before the FTO against non-provision of With Holding Tax deduction certificate, PTCL, Islamabad had raised a preliminary objection that the FTO has no jurisdiction as in cases of mal-administration at federally controlled bodies the jurisdiction lays only with the Federal Ombudsman.

The telecom company further contended that the complainant has already availed the forum of the Federal Ombudsman on the same subject matter as that of the instant complaint and the Federal Ombudsman closed the matter in favour of the company.

However, the FTO has observed that the agency is not justified to question the jurisdiction of the FTO in terms of Section 9(2)(b) of the FTO Ordinance. It was because the Complainant had requested the company to issue a tax deduction certificate for the period March 2000 to June 2011 for which he intends to lodge a claim of refund with the FBR. He had availed arbitration of FTO for issuance of refund on account of tax deduction under Section 236(1)(a).

The FTO’s findings also stated that the company is bound to facilitate the Complainant/taxpayer by issuing the required deduction certificate being under consumers/customers facilitation. Moreover, tax is deducted by the company on behalf of FBR and the issuance of tax withholding statements /certificates is also mandatory for withholding agents under tax laws.

The FTO being custodian of taxpayer’s rights cannot sit idle in a situation where on one hand the FBR denies the claim of tax deduction filed by the complainant quoting non-submission of withholding certificate and on the other hand company is neither issuing the certificate nor denying the complainant’s claim. Sanctity of the Rights of citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution that rules supreme over all other laws and it is too serious an affair to be diluted on technical grounds.

Tax ombudsman has, therefore, directed the FBR to ensure that IR field formation (LTO, Islamabad) holding jurisdiction over the said company must resolve the instant issue through coordination with the company while the company authorities are required u/s 23(1) of the FTO Ordinance, 2000 to provide assistance, facilitating the issuance of subject tax deduction certificate for the period March 2000 to June 2011 against PTCL number 061-6536262 to the complainant enabling him to lodge his claim of refund with the FBR.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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