The business community has requested the government to withdraw the recently added Section 203(A) to the Income Tax Ordinance.
Section 203(A) empowers some Inland Revenue officers to arrest people who have committed the offence of concealment of income or any offence warranting prosecution under the ordinance on the basis of material evidence.
It is applicable to the Inland Revenue officers of the rank of assistant commissioner and above. In a joint statement on Tuesday, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said that Section 203(A) would grant new discretionary powers to the tax officers.
“Now, Inland Revenue officials can arrest a person right after starting proceedings against him, which is a harsh measure and it is expected to mitigate the confidence of taxpayers,” they said.
They were of the view that the cumbersome tax system, coupled with undue addition to the discretionary powers of tax officials, could dent economic development, foreign and local investment and adversely impact the revenue target.
There was a dire need to adopt a better approach towards taxpayers in order to enhance the tax-to-GDP ratio, the LCCI office-bearers added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16h, 2021.