ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to take disciplinary and corrective action against all tax officials involved in unauthorized access and manipulation of return filing data of an overseas Pakistani.

The FTO has further directed the FBR to investigate how integrity of tax data was compromised despite an elaborate and dedicated setup of Pakistan Revenue Automaton Limited (PRAL).

The Member (IT) to take appropriate step to ensure data security and effective control over IT personnel in all jurisdictions, FTO order added.

The complainant is an Overseas Pakistani and has been living in the United States of America since 2001. The complainant stated that on July 5, 2023, she emailed the Chief Commissioner, RTO, Lahore office regarding the illegal registration of an FBR tax filer’s account in her name. However, she did not get a response from the RTO’s office.

The complainant further stated that she neither applied for an NTN in Pakistan, nor does she have any income from Pakistan. The complainant further stated that under Income Tax Ordinance 2001 (the Ordinance) she was not liable to be registered for an NTN number.

The complainant further stated that she came to know on July 4th 2023 that someone had applied for an NTN in her name and obtained the same as 298630-1. The complainant further stated that she immediately emailed FBR informing them that she has not applied for this NTN.

The NTN was obtained using a mobile number and email that did not belong to her. The complainant further stated that on July, 1 2023 with the help of an LRO, she was able to gain access to the FBR account in Pakistan and got both the mobile number and email changed, the FTO order said.

The complainant further stated that this Iris/NTN and return has been filed with support of the FBR officials. The complainant prayed that a thorough inquiry be conducted through the IT Wing to find out as to who (unauthorized entity) created his NTN, accessed Iris account, filed returns of income tax and then printed those returns which are otherwise protected under the Ordinance.

The complainant further prayed that inquiry should be conducted to find out the Users IP, login addresses along with source port numbers used for illegally accessing my IRIS account. Furthermore, disciplinary proceedings should be initiated against the culprits who accessed her account unauthorizedly. An affidavit that the document] her return submitted in the US court has actually not been filed by her is required for her defense in the US Court.

The IT Wing report further shows that the profile of the complainant was manipulated through connivance of employee of RTQ Lahore IkramuIIah through modification application. Even password was also changed using online utility ‘forgot password’.

The above facts show that the Shoaib Iqbal (ITP) and Ikramullah from RTO Lahore are the persons who breached the data security and manipulated tax profile for updation and filed tax return on behalf of the complainant.

In view of above facts, it can safely be presumed that Shoaib Iqbal (ITP), Ikramullah employee of RTO Lahore and Asif Ali, Data Processing Officer (PRAL) got unauthorized access to tax data and manipulated the same to create tax profile of the complainant and made changes on account of email address, password and had filed return of income on behalf of the complainant. The said acts are found contrary to law, oppressive and involve exercise of authority for improper motives and administrative excesses in terms of 2(3)(i)(a)(b) and (d) of the FTO Ordinance, 2000, the FTO order added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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