LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged FBR to stop attaching business accounts in the larger interest of the economy as it should be the last option and not the priority. President LCCI Ijaz A. Mumtaz urged the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to immediately stop the FBR from this practice which is pushing the taxpayers to the wall besides denting the reputation of a business-friendly government.
The LCCI president said that attachment of bank accounts should be the last option but the RTOs are wasting no time in taking punitive action to meet the revenue targets. He said that FBR was constituted to facilitate the businessmen but it is presently doing the opposite. He added that the FBR should focus on controlling under-invoicing and curbing the menace of smuggling besides expanding tax net but it is playing arm-twisting by instituting cases for recovery of outstanding dues and attaching bank accounts.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that it is unfortunate that the FBR is not releasing what it owes to the business community but creating troubles for the businessmen for the recovery of its outstanding dues just to meet the revenue targets and for the sake of showing performance.
According to FBR’s own documents, the total amount of refund in the year 2013-14 has reached the staggering amount of Rs.104 billion which is 16.4% higher than the previous year figure of Rs.93.6 billion, he said. He further told that as many as 36000 refund cases are pending with the Federal Board of Revenue. There are companies which could not get cleared their refund cases even after the lapse of 14 years.
The LCCI President said that there should be a level-playing field in this regard if a tax defaulter is liable to penalties and attachment of bank accounts, the same should apply to FBR functionaries if they fail to release the valid refunds of the businessmen. Accountability in this regard would force the FBR officials to expedite the payment of refunds.
LCCI President also pointed out that it was very unfortunate that if the FBR initiates a case for recovery against any tax payer, he is not given any opportunity to plead his case as the FBR itself is complainant and itself a judge. What justice one can expect of such an institution.