ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Shabbar Zaidi has placed a ban on raids at business centres and offices.
According to an FBR notification, prior approval of Member (IR-Operations) and the chairman will be required to conduct the raid. “If there are evidence 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,” said the notification.
The notification 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.
After appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as FBR Chairman, business community was looking for drastic reforms in FBR to promote tax revenue of the country. Now this decision of the FBR is being hailed across the country by the business community.
Different chambers of commerce including LCCI, ICCI, RCCI, FPCCI and trade associations time and again had asked the FBR to avoid raids on business premises because this approach was creating harassment in business community and damaging the image of the government in private sector. Conducting sudden raids on business premises, taking record and computers into possession, arresting counter persons and sealing businesses were the measures that were very insulting for the taxpayers who deserved to be treated with due respect.
Earlier, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said business community was never against tax payment, but they wanted a friendly approach from FBR to expand the tax base in the country. He said that when the non-filers witnessed such coercive measures of FBR against regular taxpayers, they felt more secure by remaining out of tax net instead of feeling any motivation to come into the tax net. He demanded that Chairman FBR should conduct inquiry against such tactics of his officials and fines received from taxpayers coercively should be returned to them.
Zubair Ahmed Malik, former President FPCCI and Chairman Founder Group said that FBR raids on business premises were creating resentment in the business community against the current government. He said government should look into this approach of FBR as it seemed to be a conspiracy to pit the business community against the current government.
While demanding an immediate stop to raids at business premises and showing of disrespect to the taxpaying community, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry had urged the government to constitute a committee having representatives from public and private sectors to sort out the issue. LCCI President Almas Hyder said that proposed committee should have representatives of the chambers, bar associations, market & industrial associations and Federal Board Revenue (FBR) as this was the only way to resolve the issue of undue raids at business premises and disrespect the business community. The LCCI President said that Section 38-B of Sales Tax Act, 1990 was being misused by the officials of tax department. Tax officials were visiting markets and godowns to unjustifiably harass the business people.
The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President, Malik Shahid Saleem had stressed upon the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to stop its raids and harassment campaign going on in the country in the garb of tax collection.