16th March 2018, The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) in its proposals being prepared by the Budget Advisory Council under the Chairmanship of Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Sr. Vice President, FPCCI has urged the FBR to withdraw the discretionary powers vested with the tax officials to avoid their misuse, provide relief to the taxpayers, simplify taxation law and restore the diminishing confidence of the assessee in the taxation schemes –a pre-requisite for success of any scheme.
The proposal is a part of the FPCCI presentation to be made to the concerned quarters for incorporation in the forthcoming Federal Budget 2018-19. The FPCCI after identifying a series of such provisions vesting discretionary powers had given concrete proposals to safeguard the interest of the taxpayers against the misuse of discretionary powers.
Regarding discretionary powers of multiple Audit / Amendment of Assessment under Section 177, 214C AND 122of Income Tax Ordinance, the FPCCI says that although a return filed within time limit does qualify for universal self-assessment Scheme, but even then it may be amended as many times as may deem necessary by the Inland Revenue officials within 5 years from the end of the financial year in which the return is filed and therefore, results in multiple tax assessments and harassment. FPCCI proposed that the power to select the return of income may rest only with the FBR who is already having the powers to select the audit case randomly through Computer ballotingunder Section 214C of the Ordinance. However, in case where definite evidence is available with the department then the audit be initiated upto the transaction in question only, it added. It may be recalled that a large number of Audit Notices are being served to the commercial importers and other such assessees who have already discharged their tax liability as full and final at the time of clearance of goods at customs stage.
FPCCI has also lamented posting of Inland Revenue Officer at Business Premises under Section 40B of Sales Tax Act, 1990 to monitor production, sales of goods, stock position etc., as it is out dated and unnecessary in the modern era of computerization and available methods of monitoring the entire production and supply chain. The proposal argued that it gives a perception of anti-business and anti-investment government policies, creates harassment and tantamount to revival of supervise clearance scheme of Central Excise in Sales Tax Act, 1990.
(MAHER ALAM KHAN)
Secretary General (Act.)