Improving taxpayer’s facilitation: Newly constituted advisory body of FTO discusses measures

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The newly constituted advisory committee of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) for the year 2023-24 met to discuss measures to improve taxpayers’ facilitation through early redressal of issues raised by traders and public at large.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of Federal Tax Ombudsman, Dr. Asif Mahmood Jan (Hilal-i-Imtiaz) (Sitara-i-Imtiaz), also launched job description book of the office of FTO, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, Media Coordinator FTO for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed.

In a press statement issued here on Saturday, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi said the meeting decided to distribute refund cheques among the complainants of Pak-Suzuki case.
During the meeting, FTO Asif Mahmood Jab apprised members that in a number of complaints, the issues raised by the Complainants, were resolved on telephonic discussion or by forwarding SMS to the relevant tax functionaries under the FBR, by exercising the powers under Section 33 of the FTO Ordinance, 2000.

As one of the major complaint of overseas Pakistani, Dr. Muhammad Naveed Khan, who is working as a medical doctor in Saudi Arabia since 2010, decided to take up the tax maladministration case to FTO.

Dr. Naveed provided his FBR proof of being employed in Saudi Arabia since 2010 and told that he never stayed in Pakistan for a period beyond the limit that could make him a “resident” under the statute.

He also provided the FBR department’s proofs of banking channel remittances received in TY-2016 and onwards.

The department kept sending notices of demand, repeatedly, to the family of Dr. Naveed and, on receipt of the demand notice of 7.5 million rupees, the mother of Dr. Naveed suffered cardiac arrest, eventually leading to her death.

The FTO directed the Chief Commissioner-IR and Commissioner-IR, Sargodha to conduct a departmental review of the facts of the complaint and rectify any wrong done to the complainant, for the purpose of correction in notices plus the redressal of maladministration, which was not followed by the FBR department.

The FTO informed that the concerned officers of FBR department, namely Shakeel Ahmad Shakeel (CIR-Sargodha), Azmat Hayat Ranjha (CIR-Sargodha) apologized to Dr. Naveed for harsh treatment and maladministration.

He also informed that the recommendations have been issued to the FBR for resolution of refund related issues raised by the members of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the same were complied with by the FBR.

He further added that the internees have also been appointed who were performing their duties well in FTO Law wing, for door-to-door visit to the taxpayers for their awareness of FTO Office and for facilitating the people at door steps”. He stated that after joining the Office as FTO, the average number of complaints’ registration has gradually increased within two years which showed the confidence of the taxpayers had increased on the Office of FTO Secretariat.

He expressed that the “suggestions and recommendations to improve tax system and resolution of taxpayers’ grievances, provided by the Members of the Committee, will be warmly welcomed, as this Office is the only institution, who provides cost free, transparent justice in a very short period of time”.

The advisory committee members lauded the performance of FTO, apprised tax related queries and gave an emphasis to share FTO’s publications/latest decisions/own motion cases with the members of Advisory committee via “Whatsapp Group” to promote tax awareness.

Internees also took part in the proceedings and emphasized the need for focusing on youth in outreach program as the potential taxpayers.

The participants appreciated the FTO’s forum for listening the complainants. (APP)