ISLAMABAD: Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Asif Mahmood Jah has unearthed a unique kind of scam involving tax officials, who rolled back the determined income tax refund by creating some technical errors in refund ledgers of the taxpayers.
It is reliably learnt that a United States-based overseas Pakistani doctor residing at New Jersey, USA, approached the FTO through tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt, to seek return of his funds from Federal Board of Revenue earlier recovered by attaching his bank accounts in Pakistan. Despite obtaining favourable order from the appellate forum and even after obtaining refund assessment order, the taxpayer was unable to take the credit of refund in his bank account.
The complainant taxpayer alleged that the said case reflects that some tax officials appeared to be practically involved in stopping of determined/ assessed income tax refund for many months by using some technical hurdles.
During investigation, FBR submitted a novel stance before FTO and states “Refund order in the instant case was issued on April 14, 2022. However, due to technical error in refund ledger of the taxpayer, refund amount could not be credited into the complainant’s bank account. Only possible solution is to roll back the refund order and issue a fresh order to this effect. Accordingly, the previous refund order got rolled back and fresh order has been issued dated 05.10.2022”.
When contacted tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt told this correspondent that before approaching constitutional courts in Pakistan, a complaint was lodged to see the claim by office of FTO on https://fto.gov. pk/opgrc with the message “FTO Overseas Pakistanis Grievances redressal Cell is established by FTO to protect the interest of Overseas Pakistanis against maladministration of FBR”.
US-based aggrieved overseas Pakistan communicated his stance to the FTO and stated that the funds were recovered through bank account attachment. As per law and in the light of binding verdict of Supreme Court in (2020 PTCL 412), FBR is duty bound to issue compensation for this delay in issuance of lawful refund, but all in vain, nobody in FBR seems to be ready to follow the law (binding verdicts of Hon’ble SCP) and accept the authority of FTO, Waheed Shahzad Butt opined.
In the name of rule of law and to promote justice at the forum of “FTO-OPGRC”, it is requested to issue strict lawful directions to FBR to issue compensation under section 171, to issue special “award of costs and compensation” under section 22 of the FTO Ordinance, 2000 and to initiate disciplinary proceedings against involved officials, who are creating serious issues for the overseas Pakistanis, US-based taxpayer added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022