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KARACHI: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has expressed dissatisfaction over maladministration reported in the registration and allocation of jurisdiction at the web portal of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and asked the board to submit a comprehensive report on the matter within 90 days.

The issue came to surface when M/s Globe Residency REIT — a real estate investment trust that was registered on December 29, 2021 in Karachi — filed a complaint at the FTO office under Section 10(1) of the FTO Ordinance 2000.

The complaint stated that the IRIS System had placed the complainant’s case under the jurisdiction of RTO-I Karachi instead of CTO Karachi in violation of the FBR Jurisdiction Order F. No. 57(2) Jurisdiction/2017/145343-R dated 01.09.2020.

The complainant also submitted applications to the RTO-I Karachi and CTO Karachi for grant of a no-objection certificate (NOC) so that the board could transfer the jurisdiction from RTO-I to CTO Karachi. However, the department failed to transfer its jurisdiction to CTO Karachi, which compelled them to take the matter to the FTO.

The FTO sought the comments of secretary of Revenue Division, Islamabad. In response, the additional commissioner-IR (HQs) CTO Karachi, instead of examining the issue and contents of the complaint, replied that the said complaint pertained to RTO-I Karachi on the point of jurisdiction.

After evaluating the respective stances, the FTO proceeded to pass an order that directed the FBR to make necessary correction in the Registration Process of the web portal so that all new registration cases automatically fall in the right jurisdiction in terms of FBR jurisdiction orders, and also asked secretary (IR-Jurisdiction), FBR, Islamabad, to transfer the complainant’s jurisdiction from RTO-I Karachi to CTO Karachi and report compliance within 45 days.

However, it has been learnt that the requisite access for change of jurisdiction by the concerned chief commissioner in the IRIS portal has been disabled by the FBR, and now practically the secretary (IR-Jurisdiction), FBR, is transferring the jurisdiction after obtaining an NOC from the respective chief commissioner. The CTO Karachi, in a letter addressed to the secretary (jurisdiction), FBR, has already issued an NOC for transfer of jurisdiction from RTO-I Karachi to CTO Karachi.

Meanwhile, FBR has informed that the FTO directives had been implemented and PRAL is already implementing the registration process through the IRIS system, allocating all new registered applicants correct jurisdictions in terms of FBR jurisdiction order.

Furthermore, the IT team of the PRAL continuously upgrades its system of registration and allocation of jurisdiction in consultation with the FBR headquarters as well as all field formations so that the existing system could cope with the requisite requirements.

Therefore, the FTO held that the said representation is liable to be disposed of with the directions to FBR for submitting a ‘holistic report’ regarding its system of registration and allocation of jurisdiction to the FTO’s secretariat within 90 days, positively.

In addition, FBR must explain why the issue was not addressed within the department on the complainant’s request, when he had filed an application. The delay resulted in wasting the time of the complainant, the time of the FTO, and that of the Presidency. The FTO also asked the department to apologise to the complainant in this case.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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