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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is equipped with a system to check past logs for identifying all tax officials, who access the income tax returns and wealth statements from the FBR’s confidential database.

Sources told Business Recorder that the Chief Manager of Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) can easily run the query and check names of officers who have accessed the income tax returns and wealth statements. The past logs are saved in the FBR system which cannot be removed by the tax officers who access the FBR system.

With one click of the concerned PRAL official, the system can give names of all officials, who used the system to access the returns of the taxpayers. The PRAL is the developer of the FBR systems but they are also engaged in the operations of the same systems. Only relevant PRAL official has the system access to remove such logs if they want to do so.

The leakage of confidential information of a taxpayer is a punishable offence including imprisonment.

The officials having the rank of Additional Commissioners and above can access the income tax returns and wealth statements of taxpayers falling under their respective jurisdiction. Tax officials have jurisdiction of the zones and units in the respective city. The relevant returns can only be accessed by the concerned officers having appropriate jurisdiction. For instance, the tax officials of Hyderabad cannot access income tax returns and wealth statements of taxpayers falling within the jurisdiction of Rawalpindi. Similarly, tax officials of Karachi cannot access income tax returns and wealth statements of taxpayers falling within the jurisdiction of Lahore.

Lahore-based officials cannot access the returns of taxpayers falling under the jurisdiction of other cities. The officials can only access the returns of taxpayers under their respective zones/ units.

In the FBR Headquarters, FBR Member Inland Revenue Operations and the FBR Member IT can access the income tax returns when needed.

Similarly, the FBR Chief Operations and a few other relevant officials can access the income tax returns. But other Members cannot access the taxpayer’s returns such as the FBR Member Admin.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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