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Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi has decided to restrain Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation Inland Revenue (IR) from conducting income tax and sales tax raids on registered units, creating harassment among the business community. On Friday, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi also assured business community that no raids would be conducted on registered taxpayers for income tax or sales tax purposes. It was also assured by the chairman that he will ask the new DG I&I to refrain from raids.

He was talking to the delegation of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at the FBR House. The delegation led by President Saboor Malik and group leader Sohail Altaf, former presidents Jalil Ahmed Malik, Asad Mashadi, Raja Amer Iqbal, Shahid Saleem, Senior Vice President Nosherwan Khalil Khan and Vice President Hamza Saroosh were present on the occasion. Member Tax Policy Hamid Attiq was also present.

Business community raised the issue of raids of FBR with Anti-Terrorist Squad which is totally unjustified. Instead of calling the concerned units to explain their position prior to raids, the sudden raids by I&I IR has created serious harassment among the business community.

Responding to this, the FBR charmin said that he would immediately direct the new DG of the Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation Inland Revenue (IR) to stop conducting raids on existing taxpayers. On the issue of a recent raid on a chemist selling imported goods, business community regretted that the way and style of conducting raids was not appropriate. The raids with 15-20 officers of police and Anti-Terrorist Squad create serious harassment among the business community giving a very wrong message to the entire country.

The FBR chairman also sought help and cooperation in addressing the menace of smuggling. RCCI President Saboor Malik shared and apprised FBR chairman about the concerns of the business community.

He said, "The national economy is passing through difficult times and we required better partnership with the FBR in joint efforts towards revival of the economy." He said that such raids and closure of business centers propagate negative message in the market. It also hurts the honor, respect and goodwill of the business centers and markets as well.

The RCCI president said that actions and raids at business center must be stopped on the account of smuggled goods. Other issues confronting the business community also came under discussion, he added. It was also suggested to dilute the image of FBR to be harsh with business community and relax the imposition of penalties.

The chairman agreed to give powers of penalties to higher authority not below Member FBR, who would evaluate the authenticity and then give permission if required. Turnover tax will be reduced to small traders and businessmen in case to case basis and its threshold will be increased. Hajj Companies payment to Saudi Arabia under section 152 will be evaluated and exempted from withholding tax. Threshold for withholding agents registered with sales tax will be enhanced. Importers' registration and WEBOC registration will be made easy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019