ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to trace out past records of remanded back cases and immediately decide all such pending cases returned by the Appellate Tribunals and higher courts for fresh adjudication and assessment orders.

Through a new order issued by the FTO, the FBR has also been directed to develop a legal module so that the tax-related cases pending in adjudication would be simultaneously visible to the concerned Commissioner Appeal, as well as, the Chief Commissioner, reflecting date of expiry of the case.

The Tax Ombudsman in pursuance of own motion cognizance has ordered FBR to trace out the record of remanded back cases prior to the year 2019 and to develop a legal module in such a way that the case pending adjudication with each officer would be visible to the concerned commissioners, as well as, the chief commissioners along with date of expiry of the case.

The own motion investigation initiated on the complaints received to Tax Ombudsman wherein complainants had contended that their cases were not adjudicated afresh on their remand back by Appellate Tribunal for consideration during the period prescribed in the section 11B(2) of the Sales Tax Act; therefore, they had become time barred. They approached to the concerned authorities but no action was taken.

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However, Section 11B (2) of the Sales Tax Act, 1990 states as below: 11B .Assessment giving effect to an order:- (2) Where, by an order made under Chapter-VIII by the Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court, an order of assessment is remanded wholly or partly and the Commissioner or Commissioner (Appeals) or officer of Inland Revenue, as the case may be, is directed to pass a new order of assessment, the Commissioner or Commissioner (Appeals) or officer of inland revenue as the case may be, shall pass the new order within one year from the end of the financial year in which the Commissioner or Commissioner (Appeals) or officer of Inland Revenue, as the case may be, is served with the order: Therefore, a notice was sent to all the Chief Commissioners –IR, as well as, the commissioners –IR (Appeals).

All seven Commissioners-IR (Appeals) reported ‘nil’. Chief Commissioners-IR sent lists of remanded back cases lying with them and reported that none of them was time barred. Since, information provided was contrary to factual position; therefore, Additional Commissioners IR, Office of Chief Commissioners and regional offices like MTO, CTO, RTO –I and RTO –II were also called to discuss the issue. FTO observed that prior to 2019, neither there was computerization of legal record, nor it was manually maintained properly. There is all possibility of many remanded back cases lying pending in different offices unattended and no one is taking pains to dig out such cases, as after transfer of sales tax regime from customs to IR in the year, 2010, frequent changes are witnessed over jurisdiction of cases on large scales and this exercise is continued.

Although, jurisdiction over cases were notified by FBR itself, but nobody bothered to oversee as to whether the Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) had shifted the soft record of the aggrieved registered persons from previous jurisdiction to new one. Resultantly, the notifications show jurisdiction at one place and the PRAL system at other place for years together till some complaint was filed or the person made efforts himself to got it transferred and even after transfer of soft data by PRAL from old place to new one, the manual record was not transferred by the old office to new one.

Since new office did not process the case without manual record, the case remained unattended, as Department still maintains both records, i.e., soft as well as hard for processing any case because of the fact that all operations are not being automated.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Abrar Dec 14, 2022 08:50pm
Appeal effects of orders passed by commissioner appeals also pending with Commissioner IR.
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