FBR forms Complaints Redressal Forum

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has intensified the zero-tolerance policy against corruption and irregularity by issuing a Circular whereby a new complaint redressal mechanism has been devised to address the complaints of taxpayers against corruption and rent seeking in Inland Revenue Field Formations. This new mechanism will hide the identity of the complainant thereby allaying his fears of any possible reaction by the officer or official who has been complaint against.
FBR has added that the important element of this new system is that all complaints would be received by Member (Inland Revenue-Operations) himself on an especially dedicated cellphone +92-0345-5555507 which would be in his own possession, exclusively. The complaints would be opened, acknowledged, and treated as per law in a highly confidential manner. The identity of the complainants would be immediately masked and encoded to safeguard them against any undue consequences.
The standard operating procedure (SOP) for lodging and handling of complaints against IR field functionaries include lodging of complaints by the complainant through a text message at above mentioned cell number on WhatsApp, preferably. In WhatsApp text option, the complainant would identify himself by writing his name, address, CNIC, the case particulars and his cell phone number. The complainant would write the name(s) of the official(s) or officer(s) against whom the complaint is directed along-with his/their designation, place of posting, and any other particulars, if available.
The complaint must be supported by some evidence such as audio or video recording, text message exchanged with the FBR functionary or any other documents, which could be attached with the text message, or subsequently sent by hard mail. If no such evidence is readily available, an affidavit on a legal paper, clearly spelling out the allegation and the person against whom the allegations are levelled would suffice. Upon receipt of the complaint, a code number would be allotted to each complainant and his back-end identity data would be hidden beyond the access of field officers. This code number would help a complainant track progress on his complaint and the outcomes on it. Depending on the nature of the complaint and the evidence provided, the matter would be taken to a logical consequence in the shortest possible time. Non-specific, unsupported or generalized complaints will not be processed.
FBR has clarified that this SOP is exclusively targeted to attack corruption and rent-seeking in the IR Field Formations, and not address complaints of routine nature. Maladministration-related grievances pertaining to tax assessments, delay in processing or payment of refunds, or issuance of exemption certificates etc. need to be brought to the notice of Chief Commissioner concerned who, vide FBR’s Order dated 16.11.2020, have already been designated as Inland Revenue Ombudspersons and assigned the task of redressing taxpayers’ grievance in the quickest possible time.
FBR has emphasized that Taxpayers can continue to utilize the forum of Integrity Management Cell, Pakistan Citizen Portal and Helpline for redressal of their grievances besides this newly established mechanism of complaint resolution.
TLTP adds: Meanwhile, the tax authorities have issued 2.1 million notices to individuals and companies for non-compliance in annual return filing and to those who misdeclared assets in their annual returns of income, a statement issued by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said.
These notices were sent to defaulters by February 28, 2021. The FBR issued notices around 1.4 million by January 31, 2021. It means during the month of February 2021 the revenue body issued another 700,000 notices to defaulters.
The FBR is taking such action to broaden the tax base in the country. Early signs suggest such efforts are bearing fruits. As on February 28, 2021, the number of income tax returns filed was 2.63 million for tax year 2020 as compared with 2.43 million last year, showing an increase of 8 percent.
The FBR said that the tax returns, however, increased by 60 percent to Rs49.6 billion up to February 28, 2021 as compared with Rs31 billion by the same date of the last year.
The FBR said that the income tax return for tax year 2020 had been increased despite the last date not extended beyond December 08, 2020. Meanwhile the last date for filing income tax returns for tax year 2019 was extended up to February 25, 2020.
The exercise is eliciting an encouraging response. However, those who are not complying would be pursued diligently until compliance is achieved.
Meanwhile, The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Monday granted income tax exemption on profits derived by foreign nationals on yield of Eurobonds and International Sukuk issued by the government of Pakistan.
In this regard the FBR issued two notifications to make changes in Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.
The FBR issued SRO 268(I)/2021 and SRO 269 (I)/2021. The FBR granted the exemption while exercising powers available under the Second Schedule of the Ordinance. Under the Schedule the government has authority to grant tax exemption of the income derived by foreign nationals of companies.
According to the notifications, the government granted the exemption to the profit on debt income of an agency of a foreign government, a foreign national company, firm or association of a person or any other non-resident person, on Eurobonds and International Sukuks issued under the government’s medium term note programme.

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