Taking a major step towards bringing transparency to the appeal system, the business community and individuals would now electronically file appeals with the Commissioner Inland Revenue (Appeals) against the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) through the ‘Iris web portal’ from January 1, 2021.
The FBR has notified SRO.1612(I)/2020 on Thursday for draft amendments in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001.
When asked about the rationale behind introducing an electronic appeal filing system, FBR officials informed ProPakistani that the Commissioner Inland Revenue (Appeals) is the first stage of appeal available to the taxpayers for filing appeals against the assessments made by the FBR or refunds related issues.
Furthermore, the official stated,
There are serious concerns of the taxpayers while filing appeals with the forum of Commissioner Appeals. The new system of filing appeals through the electronic system will have a very positive impact on the whole appeal system of the taxpayers.
The electronic appeal filing system would end direct interactions between the aggrieved taxpayers and Commissioner Appeals. The new system will maintain electronic records of all Appeals orders. It will bring transparency in the process of appeals filed by the taxpayers against the FBR, added the officials.
They further said that the new system is in-line with the FBR’s policy of automation and electronic integration of data. This would eliminate physical interaction between the taxpayers and tax adjudicators.
“The electronic maintenance of records of appeals will ensure exact trends of appeals orders and the nature of decisions issued by the Commissioner Appeals,” said the officials.
Most importantly, the speedy disposal of cases and hearing of appeals will be possible through the new electronic appeal filing system. This will also end the manual maintenance of records at the level of Commissioner Appeals, averting any possibility of a loss of documents or tampering of records, officials added.
For the first time, the Commissioner Appeals will be able to hear cases without delays during the COVID situation.
The FBR stated that the appeal shall also be electronically transmitted to the respondent through Iris. Where an appeal is not filed electronically in the manner specified, an electronic notice shall be issued within three days, requiring the appellant or his authorized representative to bring the appeal per the rules, within the time limitation.
The Commissioner Appeals shall issue notices electronically to both the parties in the appeal, informing them regarding the date and place of hearing of the appeal or the stay application as the case may be.
The Commissioner Inland Revenue (Appeals) shall issue notices electronically to both parties for providing them a reasonable opportunity to present their stance in case of an increase in the amount of any assessment order or decrease in the amount of any refund.
He shall make sure that orders or decisions received from the Tribunal or Higher Courts and all other documents which have been received manually from quarters other than the appellant are immediately uploaded in Iris in a soft-form with the relevant case on the web portal.
The order passed electronically on the Iris web portal shall not require any seal or signature of the Commissioner Appeals. The date of the order shall be the date as mentioned on the order generated by the system.
Cases filed following the Tax Year 2014 shall not be filed manually from January 1, 2021, onwards, and the cases already filed manually before the said date shall be proceeded as per the SRO 279(1)/2018. All such cases shall be finalized as per law but not later than June 30, 2021.