Dispute resolution: FTO vows prompt decision on taxpayer complaints

Adviser says complaints are addressed in 60 days free of charge

Our Correspondent February 07, 2017

MULTAN: The objective of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) offices is to provide a prompt and inexpensive way of addressing the grievances of taxpayers against maladministration on the part of employees of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), an FTO adviser says.

“Around 1,807 complaints are handled by the FTO offices across the country annually,” M Siddique, Adviser (Implementation and Monitoring), said at a workshop on “Public awareness and advocacy about dispute resolution mechanism of the Federal Tax Ombudsman” for medium and small-scale enterprises on Tuesday.

Elaborating, Siddique said taxpayers could file complaints with the FTO by courier, by hand, by email or online. The services of FTO offices were free of charge and citizen-friendly and the complaints were decided within 60 days, he said.

Form-A is available on the FTO website for lodging complaints by the taxpayers and the form can also be obtained from the FTO offices and the main secretariat.

Speaking on the occasion, FTO Director General Muhammad Asif, while highlighting the historical perspective, said the ombudsman office was established in 1983 in Pakistan whereas in 2000 an independent FTO office came into being.

There are 150 ombudsman offices around the world.

Chamber of Small Traders President Zafar Iqbal Siddiqui insisted that the number of taxpayers had increased by 0.4 million and the revenue collection spiked 20%.

In spite of that, he argued, traders were being harassed by tax managers and they were victimised whenever they went to the FTO or any court of law.

The tax managers not only froze bank accounts but also drew the amount by threatening bank managers, he said, adding the Intelligence and Investigation Wing of the FBR also harassed the traders.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2017.

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