Tax collection: FBR looks to bridge communication gap with business community

Director says criminal proceedings left for worst-case scenarios.



ISLAMABAD:


The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday said that it would not take any measures that may cause havoc in the business community, urging businessmen to cooperate with the tax department in a bid to enhance the country’s collection.     


“The communication gap between the FBR and taxpayers is the main hurdle in improving tax revenue,” said General Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) Inland Revenue Director Ejaz Hussain. “A Dispute Resolution and Advisory Committee, comprising representatives from the FBR and the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), should be formed to resolve tax issues amicably.”

Addressing the business community at the chambers, Hussain said the committee should comprise the representative of I&I Directorate and ICCI.

The director assured that the FBR would not take coercive measures, adding criminal proceedings will only be initiated in rare cases, where taxpayers would not extend any cooperation with the department.

He said instructions have already been issued to I&I Directorate officers to not collect Capital Value Tax (CVT), as only field units of the Regional Tax Office will collect it.

“Without authorised warrants, no officer of FBR can raid business premises and businessmen should not cooperate with those officers who don’t have authorised warrants,” said Hussain. “Rather, they should report such matters to the police.”

He added that better relations between tax collectors and taxpayers is the way forward to promote national interest, giving assurance that the FBR would not take any such measures that may create any unnecessary tension in the community.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI Acting President, Khalid Mehmood Chaudhry highlighted various tax-related issues of the business community. He said businessmen are ready to pay tax, but certain measures like initiating criminal proceedings, detention and registration of FIRs against some taxpayers have created lot of harassment in the business community and the FBR should avoid such extreme measures to improve trust deficit and to build confidence.

He welcomed the formation of the Dispute Resolution & Advisory Committee and hoped that after its formal notification, it will serve to the betterment of the relationship between taxpayers and collectors. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.

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