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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) on Wednesday directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to revisit ‘condonation’ order by considering the genuine grounds/ facts for issuance of refund to the taxpayer.

An order was issued by the FTO in this regard on Wednesday.

Brief facts of the case are that earlier the complainant had filed a complaint before FTO for delay in disposal of condonation application for filling of refund claim for tax period April 2016.

However, the FBR rejected the complainant’s request for condonation. The complainant prayed that the FBR be directed to withdraw unwarranted rejection letter issued in haste and grant condonation of delay of one day for submission of sales tax claim.

The complainant submitted that as per the directions of the DCIR, the complainant without wastage of time applied for condonation before the concerned CIR but no decision was made by the CIR. After lapse of five years, the Complainant submitted a reminder request letter to the Department for condonation of submission of refund claim.

Meanwhile, the complainant has approached the FTO who decided the complaint on 22.09.2021 with the recommendations to FBR/CIR to decide request of the complainant for condonation of delay in submission of refund claim for tax period April 2016, as per law.

In compliance of the recommendations of the FTO, the matter was referred to the FBR Headquarters, for necessary action. The FBR rejected the request of the complainant on the ground that “as the delay has not been substantiated with plausible reason/explanation and relying on the judgments of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and FTO that substantive reasons for each and every day must be given before delay can be condoned, the FBR prayed for rejection of Complaint. FTO’s finding also stated that it was a settled principle of law that right of a taxpayer cannot be denied on the plea of limitation or on any other technical plea as held by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in judgment PTCL 1998 CL. 354 as under:“the denial of refund of the amount involved, would be violative of Article 24(1)of the Constitution which lays down that “no person shall be deprived of his property save in accordance with law.” “Latest judicial trend is to deprecate and to discourage withholding of a citizen’s money by a public functionary on the plea of limitation or on any other technical plea if it was not legally payable by him.”

Considering the above, there is no justification for the FBR to withhold the refund.

Accordingly, Tax ombudsman has directed the FBR to direct Member-IR (Operations) to revisit condonation order and condone the delay.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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