ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has terminated from service 150 employees of its subsidiary Pakistan Revenue and Automation Limited (PRAL), fuelling apprehensions about the adverse impact on the performance of the department.
Among those terminated employees are data entry operators and officials who were performing basic and important jobs. Currently, the PRAL is playing a crucial role in receiving tax returns online from the taxpayers which reduces taxpayers’ direct interaction with tax officials, minimising chances of corruption.
Sources in the FBR said that the decision ‘appeared’ to be a political one rather than an administrative. The decision will affect the reception of online tax returns in the most negative way, they added.
The sources also revealed that despite filing of tax returns by FBR officials, their names were not included in the list of return filers due to which they had to face embarrassment as their names were enlisted among the few non-filing officials. Such officials blamed PRAL for their embarrassment.
FBR is set to embark on a campaign for e-filing of tax returns from September this year. If the record of data entry is not prepared precisely, it will add to the troubles of hundreds of thousands of tax return filers who would receive non-compliance notices despite filing their returns due to anomalies created by staff shortage which can lock the FBR and return filers in a legal battle.
It is to be noted that under CAPE project, the PRAL and National Bank of Pakistan are providing online return filing service through e-portal. International financial institutions had provided funds for the establishment for PRAL and its e-project. However, later the commitment was withdrawn.