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ISLAMABAD: The recommendations on reforms in the tax machinery have been finalised by the inter-ministerial committee formed to deliberate on the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)’s restructuring.

Sources told Business Recorder that the committee under the chair of caretaker Finance Minister, Dr Shamshad Akhtar discussed in detail the proposed restructuring of FBR during the last two meetings including the concerns raised by top management of FBR and Inland Revenue Service on inclusion of private professionals in the oversight board.

Sources said that the caretaker finance minister has assured to address the concerns of officers of Inland Revenue Service and it is also incorporated in the summary submitted to the federal cabinet.

Recently, few officers of IRS have also asked the chief election commissioner to take notice of ongoing exercise of FBR restructuring and overhaul of FBR.

The IRS officers have a point of view that caretaker setup has no mandate to take major statutory changes such as the restructuring of major revenue department which directly offend the provisions of various statutes including FBR Act 2007, Income Tax Ordinance 2001, Customs Act 1969, Federal Excise Act, 2005, and Sales Tax Act, 1990.

The restructuring plan includes the establishment of oversight boards in the name of accountability, adding that senior tax officials opined that the establishment of such boards will open up avenues for the vested interest and even the inclusion of persons with conflict of interest.

They further claimed that taking a decision, just three weeks before the general elections, will have far-reaching implications.

Sources said that Customs officers do not have issues on the proposed oversight board as they want that functions and powers mentioned in Customs Act, 1969, rest with it.

However, sources said that the caretaker setup may assign the withholding agent role to the Pakistan Customs and if this happens then Pakistan Customs will collect withholding taxes on the behalf of the IRS.

Sources said that the federal cabinet is expected to take up the FBR restructuring summary next week and there are chances that it may approve the inter-ministerial recommendations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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