KARACHI: Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Tariq Mahmood Pasha, while terming the business community and tax collecting authority as ‘Partners’, assured to award due consideration to KCCI’s suggestions in dealing with some of the pressing issues pertaining to revision of Regulatory Duty on imported items, Refund Claims, Audit, Discretionary Powers and other serious issues being faced by the business and industrial community.
Speaking at an interactive session during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Tariq Pasha advised KCCI to formulate different committees in order to come up with workable solutions for dealing with numerous taxation issues, budgetary measures, refunds claims, audit or any other issue.
“Without taking the business community into confidence, the taxation system simply cannot move forward”, he added.
Vice Chairmen Businessmen Group & Former Presidents KCCI Tahir Khaliq, Zubair Motiwala, Haroon Farooki & Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Senior Vice President Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak, Vice President Rehan Hanif, Former Presidents Haroon Agar, Abdullah Zaki, Iftikhar Vohra & Shamim Ahmed Firpo along with KCCI Managing Committee members attended the session.
Tariq Pasha said that FBR has witnessed growth in its revenue collection and returns filed so far. The credit for this growth can be attributed to government’s initiatives and improved performance of numerous domestic sectors including the manufacturing sector. A total of 1,075,000 returns have been filed as on December 19, 2017, indicating an upsurge of 26 percent as compared to last year.
To deal with pending Refund Claims, Tariq Pasha offered that FBR can pick up 100 cases of substantial refunds on random basis whose Refund Payment Orders have not been issued and are blacklisted or deferred. These cases will be brought to relevant Associations’ notice in order to probe their genuineness and upon certification by the concerned Association, FBR will decide these cases.
Referring to the list of items included in the Regulatory Duty list, Chairman FBR admitted that the list contains some analytical errors which will be rectified soon by revising it.
Commenting on concerns expressed by participants of the meeting over massive discretionary powers to FBR officers which were grossly being misused, Chairman FBR stated that all such discretionary powers cannot be completely removed but he will ensure that these discretionary powers are minimized.
He said that he was personally not satisfied from the Audit which should only be used as a tool for deterrence. In this regard, he advised KCCI to give suggestions on how to improve the audit procedures.
In response to concerns expressed over lack of coordination between FBR and Sindh Revenue Board, Tariq Pasha said that both, FBR and Provincial Revenue Authorities are now working closely to resolve numerous taxation issues.
He assured to once again visit Karachi Chamber in the month of January 2018 to thoroughly review and further discuss KCCI’s suggestions on how to deal with taxation issues being faced by the business community.
Responding to concerns expressed in Section 176, he assured that this section will also be reviewed in order to provide relief to the business community.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala pointed out that although RD has been imposed to lessen the imports and enhance the exports but its imposition on basic raw materials will prove to be counterproductive as the exports will descend. Many importers of raw materials are not finding it feasible to clear goods from Ports at such exorbitant rates after the imposition of RD hence, the FBR has to review the unjust RD on raw material in consultation with stakeholders.
“Instead of imposing RD, the government’s intention should be to make the manufacturing sector stronger and create a substitute for the imports within the country, which is the right approach”, he added.
He suggested that the FBR, prior to taking action against any businessman or industrialist, should take the relevant association on board which would yield positive results and build a stronger relationship between the taxpayer and tax collector.
Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Haroon Farooki pointed out that strategies adopted by FBR in 2013 with the spirit to improve the tax base, made all the filers withholding agents but unfortunately, this step resulted in descending the number of returns filed from 1.55 million to less than 1 million with a depreciation of 125,000 filers each year since 2013.
Out of the total filers of less than 1 million, around 600,000 are salaried class whereas the returns being filed by the business segment continues to decline since 2013, he said, suggesting that this has to be reviewed in the next budget and the non-corporate sector should be treated separately on experimental basis, which may result in improving the tax base of the country.
He was of the opinion that the business and industrial community suffers badly throughout the year due to frequent issuance of SROs and Amendments which have to be stopped whereas the controversial Section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance was badly being misused which is followed by just one notice comprising of at least 15 demands which tantamount to the complete Audit.
Vice Chairman BMG & Former President KCCI Anjum Nisar, in his remarks, also expressed deep concern over the imposition of RD on many items which simply cannot be treated as luxury items as many of these items are being used by every household across the country for daily consumption therefore, FBR should withdraw RD on such items.
He further advised the FBR to take recommendations of Tax Reforms Commission into consideration while devising different taxation policies, besides underscoring the need to revisit the obsolete procedures being followed by the Valuation Department whose efficiency has to be improved in consultation with stakeholders.
President KCCI, in his brief remarks, appreciated Chairman FBR Tariq Mehmood Pasha for visiting the Chamber after a lapse of more than 3 years when Chairman FBR last visited the largest Chamber of Pakistan. He hoped that FBR will now pay attention to KCCI’s opinion and its suggestions which were being given in the larger interest of the entire Business and Industrial Community of Pakistan.
He further assured Chairman FBR KCCI’s keenness to work together to not only resolve issues faced by businessmen but would also like work with the FBR to enhance the tax compliance culture.