ISLAMABAD     -    Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi has placed restrictions on raids on premises of taxpayers without approval of senior officials of the FBR.

“There will be no raid on any premises of any existing taxpayers without prior approval of Member (IR-Operations) and Chairman,” the FBR said in a notification quoting its chairman. He further said that if there are evidences of economic transaction(s) which are chargeable to tax and the organisation/entity is not a tax registered person then the officer will report it to the Member (IR-Operations) and Chairman FBR, who will provide necessary direction for future course of action.

Few months back, the FBR had started raids at various business houses. Through enforcement actions, the FBR had raised tax demands of Rs8.2 billion and tax of Rs 3.8 billion has been received. However, the business community showed concerns over the raids and demanded of the government to halt the process. Chairman FBR has now placed restrictions on raids on premises of taxpayers without approval of senior officials of the FBR.

Similarly, the FBR has also prohibited the suspension from active taxpayers list unless there is personal interaction with CEO/owner of the business 24 hours before the suspension. The list of all such cases will be sent to Chairman FBR and Member (IR-Operations) with reasons for the suspension and evidence of personal interaction.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) asked the new chairman FBR should focus on enhancing the tax compliance that was the way forward to realize the actual tax potential of the country. Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President ICCI, said that the new FBR chief should avoid imposing any new taxes or increasing tax rates in the forthcoming budget.

Moughal said that new FBR chief soon after assuming charge issued directions that no bank account of any taxpayer should be attached without giving at least 24-hour prior intimation and his approval, which was a laudable initiative. He said that such good initiatives would end the element of harassment in business community and would restore their confidence on the tax department.

ICCI President said that Pakistan’s prevailing tax system was very complicated due to which it was promoting informal economy instead of contributing towards tax revenue. He urged that Chairman FBR should end all coercive tactics of FBR against taxpayers and bring drastic reforms in his organization that should facilitate the growth of business activities and encourage tax culture in the country. He said that Pakistan’s economic stability and growth was dependent on increasing tax revenue for which a business friendly taxation system was the key requirement and hoped that new FBR chief would take all possible measures to achieve this goal.

INP adds: President FPCCI Engr Darood Khan Achakzai along with Abdul Waheed Sheikh, Ijaz Khan Abbasi, Qurban Ali and Shireen Arshad Khan, Vice Presidents of FPCCI, visited the office of Shabbar Zaidi, congratulating him on assuming the charge of Chairman FBR.

During the meeting, the President FPCCI discussed various measures and proposals particularly for enhancement in number of tax payers and to increase their confidence level to achieve the set targets of revenues. Engr. Darood Khan Achakzai further said that misuse of powers by the tax authorities is creating trust deficit and lack of confidence.

The chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi said that now there would be no raid and harassment to the taxpayers due to which the trust and confidence on tax colleting agency has been shaked. He reiterated that the taxpayers will be given due respect and no active taxpayer will be exposed and publicized as non-active or non-filer in case of any delay in payment of tax or on any account.

He reaffirmed that no bank account will be freezed without prior intimation and notice to bank account holder and FBR will devise a mechanism in this regard. The FBR chief further said that the real estate is fast growing sector of the economy and FBR will devise various reforms.

President FPCCI Engr Daroo Khan Achakzai invited the Chairman FBR to visit FPCCI Headquarters at Karachi and its Capital Office Islamabad to discuss FPCCI’s budget proposals and to share vision to revamp the tax system and machinery which is now the need of hour to be shifted in effective automated system to facilitate the taxpayers.

The Chairman FBR agreed to visit the FPCCI soon to get feedback and first-hand information from FPCCI members and apprise them of FBR stance.