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ISLAMABAD: Following intervention of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has declared manual filers of income tax returns as active taxpayers on the FBR-maintained Active Taxpayer List (ATL)“.

Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Mahmood Jah has exposed violation of Rule 73 of Income Tax Rules 2002 by some tax employees of FBR declaring manual filers of income tax returns as “inactive” on the FBR-maintained Active Taxpayers List (ATL).

It is reliably learnt that a prominent 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 at FTO Regional Office at Lahore.

FTO summons senior FBR members for declaring manual income tax filers as inactive

After the lawful intervention by the Adviser Income Tax FTO Regional Office Lahore finally FBR has turned the manual filers of income tax returns as “Active Taxpayer” on the FBR-maintained ATL.

When contacted, Waheed Shahzad Butt informed 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 treat ment 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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KU Sep 20, 2023 04:02pm
Why does every article end up in the hope of ''upholding duty and principles'' or ''goodness in officials'' of FBR or any other public office? It's not forthcoming and is foolish at best.
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Khurram Shahzad Sep 21, 2023 07:00am
Good decision in public interest.
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