The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has allowed taxpayers to electronically file appeals against its tax related decisions amid a steady increase in the number of return filers that surged to 2.3 million but still remained below last year’s level.
The FBR has launched electronic filing of appeals with effect from January, according to a press release issued by the tax machinery on Saturday.
Commissioner Inland Revenue (Appeals) is the first tier of appellate hierarchy provided in the Inland Revenue laws. Taxpayers aggrieved with the orders of Inland Revenue tax authorities file first appeal before the Commissioner (Appeals). Providing facility of filing of appeals electronically by the taxpayer is another step toward automation of FBR, it added.
The FBR has collaborated with Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited for development of software for e-filing of appeals. In the process, input of major stakeholders, such as ICAP, ICAMP and PTBA, was also taken. The system will enable the taxpayers, aggrieved by the orders of tax authorities, to e-file appeals on the Iris Web Portal. Both the revenue and the taxpayers will reap the benefits of the automated system for e-filing of appeals.
While responding to various media reports, the FBR said that by not extending the last date for filing the returns, it has “restored the sanctity of last date”.
About 2.3 million individuals and companies have filed their annual income returns till December 31 compared to 2.2 million till December 2019, said the FBR. It said that the income tax paid during filing of returns stood at Rs.43.5 billion compared to only Rs28 billion deposited last. This shows an increase in tax deposit with returns of 55%.
However, in tax year 2019, nearly three million people had submitted their annual income tax returns.
The FBR said that it was fully geared towards automation, e-audit, and simplification of procedures, e-payment of duty draw back so as to add to ease of doing business. It said that a single-page simplified income tax return for SME manufacturers was also launched. The FBR has upgraded Iris system for issuing SMS and e-mails whenever any notice is issued or any assignment is created by the tax officer.
The FBR marginally missed its first half of the fiscal year tax collection target despite setting a low benchmark. The FBR provisionally collected a net revenue of Rs2.204 trillion, Rs6 billion short of the target.
From July to December there was growth of 5% in revenue collection over Rs2.1 trillion in the same period of last year. Income tax collection for July to December stood at Rs816 billion. Similarly, collection of sales tax, federal excise duty, customs duty remained at Rs915 billion, Rs127 billion and Rs336 billion, respectively.
Moreover, an additional Rs10 billion has been collected from book adjustment. It is expected that revenue to be collected from book adjustment will increase in coming days.
For the month of December only, the total collected revenue stood at Rs508 billion as against the target of Rs541 billion. In the first six months of current fiscal year, refunds to the tune of Rs102 billion have been issued compared to Rs.53 billion for the same period the last year.
During the first six months of the current fiscal year, smuggled goods worth Rs30 billion have been seized as compared to seizures of Rs22 billion during the corresponding months of 2019.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2021.
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