ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has warned the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to stop harassing overseas Pakistanis, who are regularly sending remittances through legal banking channels.
While rejecting an appeal filed by the FBR against an order of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), the President stated that overseas Pakistanis are major source of remittances, but the FBR’s attitude is most unfortunate and uncalled with loyal overseas Pakistanis.
The President further stated that presently overseas Pakistanis are major source of remittances which is the most crucial segment of our fragile economy. It is just and fair to reject the representation of the FBR with strict directions that the overseas Pakistanis should be dealt with utmost empathy and kindness in order to encourage them to send more remittances through proper channels.
Moreover, the FBR must pass on strict directions to all its field formations for utmost compliance. Thus, the representation of the FBR deserves to be disposed off with above observations.
In a detailed judgement against the FBR, the President stated that it is established on record that a loyal Pakistani overseas doctor with a sincere and inspiring vision to support the country voluntarily by bringing more remittances and investment in his own country, he got himself registered with the FBR. Unfortunately, instead of welcoming the goodwill gesture of the overseas Pakistani, the department issued notices to him to file returns for the period from June 2016 to June 2021.
Being working in Saudi Arabia and getting his salary there through a bank, he sent emails to FBR along with all the required documents, ie, evidence of remittances through proper channels. Unfortunately, the department did not bother to consider his stance/evidence and passed orders under section 122(5A) of the Income Tax ordinance 2001 unilaterally.
Thus, he was forced to file an appeal before the Commissioner Inland Revenue (Appeals) Sargodha who vide his order dated 12-10-2022 remanded back the case to the concerned officer for reassessment proceedings for the tax years 2017 to 2021 and annulled the order tax years 2016 on 29-03-2023.
Although, the department passed appeal effect orders on 20-01-2023 for the tax years 2017 to 2021 but surprisingly filed second appeal before the AITR Islamabad against the order of the CIR-Appeals pertaining to the tax years 2016 which is still pending for the adjudication.
In one of the major complaints of overseas Pakistani Dr Muhammad Naveed Khan, who is working as a medical doctor in Saudi Arabia since 2010, decided to take up the tax maladministration case to the FTO.
Dr Naveed is a resident Pakistani despite of the fact that he was residing in Saudi Arabia and was a non-resident.
He provided the FBR department proof of him being employed in Saudi Arabia since 2010 and that he never stayed in Pakistan for a period beyond the limit that could make him a “resident” under the statute. He also provided the FBR department proofs of banking channel remittances received in TY-2016 and onwards.
The department kept sending notices of demand, repeatedly, to the family of Dr Naveed and, on receipt of the demand notice of 7.5 million rupees, the mother of Dr Naveed suffered cardiac arrest, eventually leading to her death. Deliberately ignoring the rules, regulations and procedure and willful negligence on part of the concerned commissioner of the FBR department.
The FTO directed the chief commissioner-IR and commissioner-IR, Sargodha to conduct a departmental review of the facts of the complaint and rectify any wrong done to the complainant, for the purpose of correction in notices plus the redressal of maladministration, which was not followed by the FBR department.
The FTO made the concerned officers of the FBR department, namely Shakeel Ahmad Shakeel (CIR-Sargodha), Azmat Hayat Ranjha (CIR-Sargodha) apologize to Dr Naveed for harsh treatment and maladministration.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023