Asset Declaration Order: Taxpayers Making Payment for One-Time Opportunity: FBR

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Council (FBR) has decided to grant a unique opportunity to taxpayers who have paid their tax on time, i.e. on July 3, 2019 under the Ordinance on the Declaration of heritage-2019 but could not file their returns due to any reason.

In this regard, the FBR issued Circular 6 of 2021, here Friday to grant relaxation in the filing of declarations under the Declaration of Assets Order-2019

According to the circular, the FBR decided to grant a unique opportunity to taxpayers who have paid their tax under the Declarations of Assets Ordinance-2019 but who have not been able, in one way or another other, file their statements.

The Ordinance on the Declaration of Assets, 2019 was promulgated on May 14, 2019 for the payment of tax and the declaration of the corresponding assets before June 30, 2019.

The deadline has been extended to July 3, 2019.

Aware of the difficulties caused and to facilitate the injured citizen taxpayers, the FBR decided to allow the filing of returns for all citizen taxpayers / persons who filed the tax under the ordinance on time, namely on 3 July 2019, but were unable to file their returns for any reason.

The system has been activated for this purpose and all taxpayers can now file their returns between September 10, 2021 and September 25, 2021.

FBR wants to change the rules for declaring assets

This is a special exemption granted under Section 7 of the Federal Board of Revenue Act, 2007, the RBF added.

When contacted, a tax expert said the circular was issued in accordance with instructions from the President and the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO).

President Dr Arif Alvi called on the FBR to take action to resolve the issue of filing returns by aggrieved persons, who have filed billions of rupees in taxes under the Tax Amnesty Scheme (Declaration Program of ‘active).

In this regard, the President upheld the FTO order and ruled on the appeals / representations brought by the FBR against the historic order issued by the FTO.

The President cited Article 17 of the Declaring Assets Ordinance under which the federal government can resolve the matter and remove the difficulties.

Despite the fact that tax filers deposited billions of rupees two years ago, the RBF has not settled the taxpayer issue, the president added.

The FTO had ordered the RBF to facilitate the filing of declarations by thousands of taxpayers under the Amnesty Regime (Assets Declaration Ordinance 2019), who have deposited billions of rupees in taxes, but have not were able to download their statements on the last date, that is to say July 3. 2019 due to a failure of the RBF computer system.

In this regard, the FTO had issued a landmark judgment (0011 / OM / 2020) to grant compensation to injured persons benefiting from the amnesty regime. The FTO recommended that the FBR make arrangements and facilitate the filing of returns in respect of all injured parties by invoking the provisions of Article 17 of the Income Tax Ordinance; update the RBF IT system, which requires extensive review and effective improvement, and report compliance within 45 days.

The FTO on its own initiative and on various amnesty declarations petitions represented by the Pakistan Tax Bar Association, which filed the taxes due to avail itself of the amnesty program but was unable to file the declarations in accordance with the law due to the failure of the FBR IRIS computer system on the last date of amnesty Declaration 2019, such as July 3, 2019, declared the inefficiency, incompetence of FBR officials, while designing the computer system for meet the needs of the public availing itself of the 2019 Amnesty Declaration Order.

According to the findings of the FTO, the inefficiency, negligence and incompetence of the officials of the department in designing the system by making the adequate arrangements and non-compliance with the provisions of the ordinance constitute maladministration within the meaning of the Article 2 (3) (ii) of the FTO Ordinance 2000.

Sacred nature of asset declarations

The FTO order issued here on Thursday revealed that an ex officio investigation had been initiated in the exercise of powers under Section 9 (1) of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance 2000 (FTO ordinance) on the complaint of delegation of agents. Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) to the FTO, alleging that thousands of taxpayers / people who intended to benefit from the amnesty program, promulgated by the government of Pakistan, as an ordinance on the declaration of assets, 2019 (the ordinance) filed billions of rupees in tax but were unable to upload the declaration of assets, as of the latest date, 03.07.2019, due to a system failure IT department (Dept).

The ministry had not anticipated this situation, where the generation of the CPR should have been subjected to the uploading of declarations. In this situation, no such anomaly would have arisen, as thousands of tax filers who paid billions of rupees in taxes were misled. Again, the seriousness of the situation had not been assessed because the tax so filed was not refundable or adjustable, FTO said.

The Ministry’s emphasis that the tax payable on the return was not the requirement of the order appears to be vague.

It was the ministry’s responsibility to keep the system running smoothly until the last minute, but unfortunately it did not meet the needs of reporters.

The general public had suffered from inadequate arrangements made by the RBF to cope with the expected load on its system.

The department has not ensured the proper functioning of its computer system to facilitate future declarants, to take advantage of the amnesty system by downloading their declarations on the last date.

It is therefore incompetence and ineffectiveness.

From officials of the RBF, said the FTO.

The record shows that thousands of tax filers have paid taxes of 2.6 billion rupees until 03.07.2019. Almost a year has passed, but the Department has taken no action to address their grievances. The ministry was well aware of the failure of the system to give effect to the regime.

Therefore, it was imperative that Commerce remove this difficulty / anomaly by invoking the provisions of Section 17 of the Ordinance. In light of the above mentioned discussion; inefficiency, negligence and incompetence on the part of RBF officials are established, the FTO order added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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