FBR urged to withdraw discretionary powers of IR officials: FPCCI

ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in its proposals being prepared by the Budget Advisory Council under the chairmanship of FPCCI Senior Vice President (SVP) Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, has urged the FBR to withdraw the discretionary powers vested with the tax officials to avoid their misuse, provide relief to taxpayers, simplify taxation law, and restore the diminishing confidence of the assessees in the taxation schemes, a pre-requisite for the success of any scheme.

The proposal is a part of the FPCCI presentation to be made to the concerned quarters for incorporation in the forthcoming Federal Budget 2018-19. The FPCCI after identifying a series of such provisions vesting discretionary powers had given concrete proposals to safeguard the interest of the taxpayers against the misuse of discretionary powers.

Regarding discretionary powers of multiple Audit / Amendment of Assessment under Section 177, 214C and 122 of the Income Tax Ordinance, the FPCCI says that although a return filed within time limit does qualify for universal self-assessment scheme, but even then it may be amended as many times as may deem necessary by the Inland Revenue (IR) officials within 5 years from the end of the financial year in which the return is filed and therefore, results in multiple tax assessments and harassment.

FPCCI has proposed that the power to select the return of income may rest only with the FBR which already has the powers to select the audit case randomly through a computer balloting under Section 214C of the ordinance. However, in the case where definite evidence is available with the department, then the audit be initiated upto the transaction in question only, it added.

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It may be recalled that a large number of audit notices are being served to commercial importers and other such assessees who have already discharged their tax liability as full and final at the time of clearance of goods at customs stage.

FPCCI has also lamented posting of Inland Revenue Officer at Business Premises under Section 40B of Sales Tax Act, 1990 to monitor production, sales of goods, stock position etc., as it is out dated and unnecessary in the modern era of computerisation and available methods of monitoring the entire production and supply chain.

The proposal argued that it gives a perception of anti-business and anti-investment government policies, creates harassment tantamount to revival of supervise clearance scheme of Central Excise in Sales Tax Act, 1990.

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