FTO urged to take notice of anti-business practices

Traders decry harassment from tax-collecting authorities


APP January 07, 2022
Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Asif Jah. PHOTO: fto.gov.pk

PESHAWAR:

Complaining about taxmen’s harassment on the pretext of floating rules, businessmen have urged the federal tax ombudsman (FTO) to take notice of the anti-business behaviours of relevant tax-collecting institutions/ authorities.

In a meeting with the FTO Dr Asif Mahmood Jah at Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Thursday, the business community regretted the delay in release of tax refunds and resolution of the pending cases.

They stressed that despite contributing to the country’s economy through taxes, they were often mistreated by the tax officials who occasionally raided their premises.

Moreover, they called for the abolishment of double taxation and reduction in the number of taxes being paid by traders. On the occasion, FTO Dr Asif Mehmood Jah assured the business community to highlight their grievances with the relevant departments and get them resolved on priority basis.

“FTO office is a business and taxpayers friendly institution, which has always played an important role to address the problems of traders in a short span of time,” he remarked.

Acknowledging the contributions of businessmen towards economic development, he underlined that their concerns regarding mistreatment by tax officials would be addressed and their “respect will remain intact”.

“FTO has established facilitation desks in different cities in the country,” Jah said, adding that a facilitation desk was also recently inaugurated in Peshawar Bacha Khan International Airport.

He revealed that “honorary advisers” would be appointed across the country for early redressal of taxpayers’ grievances, in light of the recommendations by the business community. “Our main purpose is to facilitate taxpayers and ensure speedy justice and relief,” Jah said. During the past four months, around 1,000 cases/ complaints of taxpayers were disposed of, he informed the participants, adding that the “reform process has also been expedited in FTO”.

He underlined that more than 11 FTO offices had been established across the country, including four new offices opened recently in Abbottabad, Sukkur, Sargodha and Sialkot.

The meeting was attended by SCCI Senior Vice President Imran Khan, Vice President Javed Akhtar, former SCCI president standing committee income tax, sales tax Zahidullah Shinwari, Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Vice President Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, executive members of SCCI, FTO, officials of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and other relevant stakeholders.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2022.

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