ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue has rebutted the news story about rift in UK-Pakistan tax authorities that appeared in the Express Tribune on 3rd June, 2020.
FBR has clarified that it enjoys very cordial relations with its UK counterpart, HMRC and the cooperation between both the tax authorities is commendable. HMRC is currently in discussions with FBR on the details of a new programme of support and has all along been very forthcoming in assisting Pakistan in tax related matters including its program Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB).
The elements presented in the news article published in Express Tribune about the FBR and HMRC partnership are potentially misleading.
FBR and HMRC have been working together since 2014 and this partnership has grown stronger over the years. Starting from a small capacity building programme, the support was expanded to international taxes including access to technical expertise from the TIWB and World Customs Organisation.
TIWB is an initiative undertaken by FBR in collaboration with HMRC and OECD for capacity building of FBR officers in the area of transfer pricing in line with the changing global demands. The last TIWB mission visited Pakistan in October, 2019. The subsequent visit has been suspended due to COVID -19 pandemic and not due to any legal or administrative hurdles. Remote assistance during this time is being undertaken.
Furthermore, considering effectiveness of TIWB, a program expansion is also possible on the request by Pakistan. HMRC has not communicated any suspension of its cooperation. Common Reporting Standards (CRS) and Country by Country Report (CbCR) are two independent line of actions adopted by Pakistan under the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance. Countries who are signatory to this convention undertake automatic exchange of information. Pakistan has been an active member of this Convention and the automatic exchanges to and from Pakistan are smoothly underway.