Amnesty scheme: FBR asked to explain 12,000 pending cases of taxpayers

ISLAMABAD: Taking suo moto notice of 12,000 pending cases of aggrieved taxpayers- who failed to avail last amnesty scheme- the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to present its point of view on the matter.

Sources said the FTO had taken suo moto notice of those taxpayers who had paid tax challans before the deadline but were unable to avail the amnesty scheme due to the failure of the IRIS system.

About 300 aggrieved taxpayers had lodged complaints with the FTO, they added.

Sources said approximately 12,000 people had deposited Rs2.6 billion tax before the deadline of July 3, 2019 after creating draft declaration on the FBR’s e-portal, but due to failure of online system, they could not declare their assets, sources said.

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According to the FTO, it was the prime responsibility of the tax department to provide technical facilitation to taxpayers, but the bureau had failed to provide such facility and consequently the taxpayers could not avail the tax amnesty scheme.

Officials said the Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) had also lodged a complaint with the FTO to take suo moto notice of 12,000 pending cases with FBR.

According to the PTBA’s written complaint, as many 12,000 people failed to declare their assets due to overburdening of the FBR’s online system, and loss of draft declarations that were saved on the FBR’s e-portal. However, no serious action had been taken so far by the FBR, which is a serious misconduct and maladministration, the complaint further stated.

The FBR needed to prepare an alternative plan to facilitate the taxpayers to avail this scheme, while the FTO should interfere in the matter to provide relief to 12,000 aggrieved taxpayers, the association further said.

According to the PTBA, the affected taxpayers lodged complaints with the FTO after getting disappointed with the FBR.

The association claims that the prime purpose of the amnesty scheme was to broaden the tax net, documentation of the economy and to revive the tax system.

The taxpayers must not be victimised for the failure of the FBR’s online system and that it should be re-opened to allow aggrieved taxpayers, who had already paid the tax, to avail the amnesty scheme.

In May 2019, through a Presidential Ordinance a Tax Amnesty Scheme (Asset Declaration Act, 2019) was launched to allow the people to declare their concealed assets.

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