ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has assured businesses that it will clear all pending rebates that have been backlogged. The move comes as part of the FBR’s attempts to become more transparent, and increase the ease of doing business.
The statement was made by Dr. Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Member of the FBR’s Inland Revenue Operations section, during a visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). While promising a quick resolution to the growing backlog, he asked the ICCI to share details of pending refunds with the board.
At the event, the President of the ICCI, Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, said that refund cases from as far back as 2009 were still pending and stressed that all refunds should be automated for timely clearance. He urged that a uniform policy for exemptions be made and the last date for POS installation should be extended up to Dec 31, 2020.
He also urged the FBR to reduce the 1.5 percent turnover tax on the steel industry, which accumulated into huge amounts, besides exempting manufacturers from withholding agents so that they could fully focus on promoting business activities.
Explaining the inefficiency in the country’s taxation system, Dr Ahmed said the system was broken, and incapable of assisting sustainable economic growth. He said that the FBR was working on a new, more efficient tax system that would help them in their goal of making conducting business easier.
However, the most realistic outlook for how long this process of creating a new tax system will take was two to three years. “The promotion of industry, trade and exports was the first priority of FBR with revenue generation as second priority as promotion of businesses would translate into more tax revenue for the country,” he said.
Going into detail about what this proposed new system would do, Dr Ahmed said the FBR was looking towards conducting e-audits, for which they would select a minimal number for audit to ensure maximum transparency. For now, the Large Taxpayer Unit of the board has been given the responsibility of the big cases. Meanwhile, Regional Tax Offices will now mange the smaller scale traders and businesses, as well as attracting new taxpayers.
A proposition is also being made to create a operate Corporate Tax Office in Islamabad to deal with corporate tax cases, in line with the FBR’s attempts to create as many specialised divisions as possible. However, he made it clear that the business community would be taken on board and all stakeholders would be consulted in the process.