FPCCI urges govt to use FTO for FBR reform

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

KARACHI: The president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) urged the government on Wednesday to use the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) to reform the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and create a fair and corruption-free taxation system.

Atif Ikram Sheikh said in a statement that the FTO, an independent institution that handles complaints against tax authorities, should be empowered to have advisors and technocrats from all sectors of the economy to devise an effective reform agenda.

He also praised the FTO for providing thousands of swift and cost-free resolutions of taxation and customs disputes to the aggrieved parties. "The business community looks towards FTO for fair treatment at the hands of tax machinery."

Sheikh said the FBR should be reformed to broaden the tax base, simplify the taxation system and separate the tax collection and adjudication powers, which are currently vested in the same officials.

Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, senior vice president of FPCCI, echoed Sheikh's views and said that the separation of tax collection and adjudication was essential to end maladministration, harassment, corruption and tax evasion.

He also complained that the FBR had failed to respond to the letters and correspondence sent by FPCCI, the apex body of the business community, and sought FTO's attention to take notice of this negligence.

Asif Sakhi, vice president of FPCCI, said that the FTO had become a relief providing organization for the taxpayers and its unbiased and merit-based decisions had shown that the right laws and their implementation could save them from maltreatment by the tax officials. He, however, expressed his concerns that the FBR was still reluctant to swiftly implement the decisions, resolutions, redressals and advisories of FTO.