LAHORE: Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) has proposed up-gradation of Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA). PTBA senior vice president and advocate High Court Habibur Rehman Zubari in a letter to the PRA chairperson has proposed that the Punjab Revenue Authority is on track to become a viable institution.
In the letter, he said that for achieving the targets, it is proposed that various steps are essential to be taken immediately to improve the working and provide a friendly atmosphere.
The letter highlighted that due to Covid-19 country wide lock down, the appeal matters, registration, revision of return, payment of tax or reply by the taxpayers have become barred by time, the department should condone the delay voluntarily and suo-moto action.
It said that tax rates reduced in the budget 2020 on restaurants from 16 percent to 5 percent in case of payment of bills through debit/ credit card have not been practically implemented so far because machines installed on the premises are still charging 16 percent which create severe hardship for the taxpayers of this line of business.
Immediate action in this regard is proposed to transfer the benefits of a lower tax rate of 5% as against 16% still being charged which is a clear violation of the prevailing law.
It was explained in the letter the registration process of PRA is solely based on the FBR data without confirmation whether the taxpayer is still living and doing the same business or otherwise.
Similarly, no verification whatsoever has been made by the department before compulsorily registering the taxpayers using social media for rendering services irrespective of the fact that whether the business remains in existence after the withdrawal of lock down.
The letter added that the notices sent to taxpayers should have the officer’s proper address, cell/land line number and room number etc for easy access.
A quick response in a well manner can save time and also reduce the fear/harassment of the taxpayer and encourage them to pay the due amount of tax.
Simplify the adjournment process, for example, this facility is also available through telephone, Whatsapp or SMS by the taxpayer or his Authorized Representatives.
The letter pointed out that the existing taxpayers must be facilitated to improve their confidence being a contributor to the Government exchequer.
Waiver of penalty and surcharge in case of payment of principal amount by the taxpayer.
Tax broadening requires a friendly attitude of the officers and a friendly environment in the organization to promote the image of the department.
Thorough inquiry should be made before taking ex-party decisions and proper service of notices be ensured to meet the ends of justice, the letter explained, adding that to provide a proper sitting place besides air and water facilities in order to give respect to the visitors’ taxpayers authorized representatives to avoid hardship waiting for the hearing.
A proper mechanism of training of the officers be developed so that they have command and proper knowledge while initiating proceedings against the taxpayers, the letter stated.
“We strongly believe that if these suggestions/ proposals are given due consideration and find place before the competent authorities, these will produce fruitful results for betterment of the organization to achieve the maximum targets and to contribute a major share in the national exchequer besides up-gradation of the image of the department,” the letter concluded.