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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has summoned senior Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) members in an investigation declaring manual filers of income tax returns as “inactive” on the FBR-maintained Active Taxpayers List (ATL) which is a clear violation of Rule 73 of Income Tax Rules 2002.

In this regard, the FTO has issued notices to the FBR Inland Revenue Heads of Policy, Operations, Legal wings and Member Information Technology.

Noted tax lawyer, Waheed Shahzad Butt, had highlighted this anomaly before the FTO in a public interest complaint, wherein FTO ordered to conduct an investigation and summoned heads of FBR-IR Policy, Operations, Legal wings and Member Information Technology for 07-09-2023 at FTO Regional Office at Lahore.

Number of income tax filers stands at 4.2m

When contacted, Waheed Shahzad Butt told this correspondent that despite the FBR’s responsibility to ensure fair and equitable taxation for all citizens, it has come to light that manual filers of tax returns have illegally been discriminated against electronically filed returns. This failure to cater to the specific needs of this vulnerable segment of the taxpayer community has drawn sharp criticism from various quarters.

Waheed further added that a categorical written intimation/ information regarding blatant violation of Rule 73 of Income Tax Rules 2002 by FBR and the illegal exclusion of some taxpayers from the ATL database, was moved but all in vain.

The FBR, in direct violation of Rule 73, has deemed/ treated the manually filed income tax return for the Tax Year 2022 as “inactive,” despite it being filed within the time specified by law and as per procedure devised by the legislature in terms of Rule 73, which explicitly states that tax returns filed within the specified time should be considered active and duly processed by the FBR.

The rule was put in place to ensure fair treatment and accurate recording of taxpayers’ information. However, the FBR’s negligence in adhering to this rule has caused unnecessary inconvenience and concern, ultimately a waste of precious exchequer resources in futile litigation.

Taxpayers expect a detailed explanation for the violation of Rule 73 and an assurance that such errors will not recur in the future. It is imperative that the FBR upholds its duty to treat taxpayers fairly and accurately reflect their status as per the law, Waheed added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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Love Your Country Sep 04, 2023 11:13am
what Tax Rules...? Are others following any rules in this country?
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Love Your Country Sep 04, 2023 11:15am
There is no rule of law, there is rule of gun powder.
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Sajid Brohi Sep 04, 2023 12:03pm
FBR should be accountable for its performance to save tax payers money.
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Tasauwar Mufti Sep 04, 2023 07:47pm
Now it's a time to conduct a major and ruthless operation in FBR from top to bottom to remove hurdles in generation of required tax revenue
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Vs Sep 05, 2023 02:49am
Govt ki kanpain taang rehi hain...
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