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ISLAMABAD: The Full Bench of the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR) has imposed costs and dismissed applications for rectification filed by a Chinese company allegedly involved in obtaining inadmissible tax refunds issued with connivance of some Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials.

It is reliably learnt that a landmark order has been passed by the Full Bench of ATIR wherein applications for rectification have been dismissed unanimously, while a penalty/ cost was also imposed on the Chinese company which was deposited with the Lahore High Court dispensary.

When contacted, a Lahore-based tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt told this correspondence that earlier a Division Bench of ATIR by using own motion powers has declared that ATIR cannot entertain an appeal under Section 131 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 without any written order passed/ issued by the Commissioner (Appeals) under Section 129 and ordered for delisting of appeals filed by a China-based taxpayer at Lahore Bench.

Delay in refund payment despite ATIR order: IHC directs FBR to pay adjournment cost to counsels

Thereafter, Chinese company approached the ATIR in rectification jurisdiction, which has been dismissed by a Full Bench of ATIR.

ATIR order states “scope of rectification is limited to the extent of rectification of an “error” or a “mistake” apparent from record. The provisions cannot be invoked as an alternative or substitute of an appeal, revision or a review as a statutory right. AR for the Appellant has not been able to point out any mistake that is apparent, obvious and floating on the face of order dated 05.08.2022; therefore, these applications have no force and are hereby dismissed.

The ATIR earlier order states, “This bench vide order dated 17.06.2022 passed in the case of China National Electric Wire & Cable Import & Export Corporation, Lahore Vs. CIR, RTO, Lahore, committed some grave mistakes of law, which is prima facie based on some omitted law, specifically on the part of learned AR who had stated at the bar that learned CIR-Appeals has refused to entertain appeals manually, which is factually incorrect and a patent wrong.

Waheed Shahzad Butt, a “Pro Bono Publico Lawyer” was called in person for assistance of the court as Amicus Curie. On court’s question he has briefly elaborated the scheme of ordinance with specific reference of filing of appeal before ATIR, jurisdictional domain and limitations/conditions provided u/Section 129(1) (a), 129(1) (b), 129(4), 131(1) and 221.

Counsel for the applicant was directed to assist this Tribunal and file corroborative documentary evidence, in shape of Board Resolution and Power of Attorney, duly routed through Foreign Offices of Pakistan & Peoples Republic of China, through which the applicant/ appellant has been authorized to file the instant miscellaneous applications and due to lack of these basic documents, instant applications are not maintainable. Learned counsel in response to above mentioned queries, has candidly given his reply “in Silence”, because he was handicapped to meet the query as there exists no Board Resolution for filing of appeals/ applications.

Admittedly the applicant had approached this Tribunal for rectification of order against which Reference Applications were not filed and limitation for this purpose had expired, ATIR order added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Muhammad Khurram Shabbir Dec 20, 2023 11:47pm
Serious tax reforms are needed.
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