FTO sets guidelines for FBR to boost foreign remittances

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To maintain the seamless flow of foreign remittances into the nation, the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has given a guiding guideline to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for dealing with Pakistanis living abroad.

The FTO issued a directive in this respect on Wednesday.

The FTO has also instructed the FBR to request an apology from the concerned field formation on behalf of the based professor.

All field divisions of the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and Pakistan Customs Service (PCS) should be instructed by the FBR to address situations involving Pakistanis living abroad with the appropriate decency and respect.

The FTO instructed the FBR that such an approach is even otherwise justified in light of the current situation of declining foreign remittances.

The FBR should take all necessary precautions to ensure that notices are properly served via all available channels (particularly at the provided email ID) and that no unfavorable actions are taken without adequate notices being issued.

“None in the tax hierarchy appreciated the fact that the Professor had remitted foreign currency to Pakistan, his country and that money is still sitting in the bank account, duly declared,” the FTO rebuked the FBR.

Despite the professor’s encouragement, he is currently through a lengthy rigmarole of legal processes, which has made him reluctant to send any money back to his homeland in the future. It might have negative horizontal implications that are severe. Unquestionably, the distinguished academic deserves better treatment.

The complainant is a Pakistani non-resident who works as a professor at Texas University in the United States and has lived there for the past 30 years, according to the case’s brief facts.

A total of $100,000 was transferred by the complainant via the banking system. The complainant also disclosed taxable revenue from lectures given at seminars held in Pakistan by educational institutions. Based on the wealth statement submitted by the complainant, the department (Deptt) issued a show cause notice according to section 122(9) of the ITO, 2001.

The complainant did not get any notification from the Dept., nevertheless, since he was a non-resident and was not in Pakistan throughout the pertinent period. Later, the Dept. completed an ex-parte evaluation according to ITO Section 122(1).

The complainant discovered an assessment order at his home when he got back to Pakistan. A correction application was then submitted to the evaluating officer together with all of the IRIS bank statement-based documentation of overseas payments.

The application, however, was unanswered for an unclear reason. The appellant was thus forced to challenge the decision before the Commissioner IR (Appeals), Hyderabad.

Even though all of the facts had been personally delivered and put on the IRIS portal, the Commissioner IR (Appeals) still dismissed the appeal in an order dated June 16, 2023, on the basis that no details had been produced.

The denial of the appeal by the Commissioner IR (Appeals) because no details were offered appears to be unsound, it has been noted after careful study of the averments and review of the record, as details were both given to him and posted on the IRIS portal.