Role of exporters vital in achieving economic targets: FTO

Dr Asif Mahmood says FTO is striving hard to address grievances of taxpayers

Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Mahmood Jah on Monday said that FTO was taking all-out measures to address the taxpayers’ grievances and rectify the complaints by carrying out independent and transparent investigations about tax maladministration.

An automated FTO portal would be launched for immediate resolution of taxpayers’ issues, he added.

Addressing the members of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) in Faisalabad, he said that the textile industry was the backbone of the economy, while textile exporters were playing a vital role in the economic development of the country.

“No country could achieve economic targets without the due role of exporters; therefore, the FTO office has left no stone unturned to address the core issues of exporters and industrialists,” he said.

He described that custom applet tribunals had been made operational, which were nonfunctional for one and half years. Since taking charge as FTO, he said, about 300 cases of taxpayers had been decided.

He informed that an online FTO portal was being launched in line with the prime minister’s portal in order to provide facilitation to taxpayers. Moreover, FTO help desks were also being established in all major airports, he added.

Dr Mahmood said that FTO had developed a simple complaint filing procedure as any aggrieved person could file a complaint personally or through courier service, email, online and fax. He said all the complaints were promptly acknowledged by the FTO HQs or its regional offices. He asked the business community to give their suggestions to further streamline FTO’s complaint redress system. Responding to a question, he assured that the issue of unnecessary notices by the tax authorities would be taken up with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Earlier, PTEA’s Acting Chairman Ameer Ahmad, in his welcome address, commended the government’s policies and PM Imran Khan’s revolutionary steps for uplifting the country’s exports. He appreciated the role of the FTO for accountability of maladministration on part of the tax authorities. For improving tax revenue, the development of an easy and simple taxation system was the need of the hour, he said, adding that an efficient and effective FTO would help provide speedy relief to complainants, promote good governance, reduce tax complaints, improve tax authority performance and enhance tax revenue.

Appreciating the government’s exemplary initiative of liquidation of long outstanding refunds of exporters, PTEA’s Patron-in-Chief Khurram Mukhtar said that this had released the financial stress for exporters; however, a huge amount of exporters were still stuck with FBR in tax refunds. He pointed out that the sales tax slab had been increased from three per cent to 17 per cent which had never been practised in any other country.

He requested the FTO to look into the matter as 18 per cent of funds were stuck in a refund regime, creating severe financial stress. He stressed that FTO should play its role in the release of such refunds that would help in addressing liquidity issues of taxpayers.