ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Jah has directed Member Inland Revenue (Operations) Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to issue clarification in 20 days regarding attachment of bank accounts of power distribution companies (Discos), National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) and Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA).
It is reliably learnt that a specific complaint has been lodged by tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt before the FTO after long silence FBR/ LTO for not clarifying a simple matter pertaining to avoidance of futile litigation at the cost of taxpayer money in courts; wherein FTO has summoned Member-IR (Operations) for not responding to specific tax-related queries.
The complainant stated that some FBR’s field formations are violating instructions issued by FBR in the attachment of bank account of Discos, NTDC, and CPPAG in recovery measures and instructions issued in C.No.6(21)S(IR-Operations)/ 2017/ 35481-R dated 20.03.2017, have been ignored and violated by the field formations (LTOs) openly without any fear of accountability.
FTO order stated “that the complaint was filed against silence/ no response to clarify the matter regarding FBR binding nature of instructions issued dated 20.03.2017. The department contended that the Islamabad Electric Supply Company is the registered taxpayer of LTO, Islamabad.
The information as sought in the instant complaint has not been filed by the taxpayer, rather has been sought by Waheed Shehzad Butt who happens to be a respectable private citizen, and not the taxpayer of LTO Islamabad. Further, the complainant had no standing in his specific queries relating to the Discos.
He failed to prove his locus standi. Secondly, IESCO had not authorised, Waheed Shehzad Butt to correspond with the tax authorities on its behalf. Furthermore, it was argued that any disclosure of information record relating to the recovery of a demand of a taxpayer was confidential and prohibited u/s 216.
In terms of Section 216(2) those provisions do not withstand anything contained in the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017. Additionally, reference of the complainant to the said Act 2017 is also bereft of any merit.
The contents of the above referred letter dictate that recovery from DISCOS, etc. be made in an amicable manner and in case of resorting to bank attachments, the matter should be referred to FBR for approval of Member-lR, Operations.
Member Operations is directed to issue a clarificatory letter to the Complainant with reference to FBR’s letter dated 20.03.2017 to redress the grievance of the same in an adequate manner and report compliance within 20 days, FTO ordered.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023