The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued a clarification about a news item, which appeared in Daily Express Tribune, alleging that FBR has directed all Commissioners (Appeals) to report to the heads of Regional and Large Tax Offices.
FBR has made it clear that the report reflects a misunderstood and out-of-context reference to the Legal Wing’s letters dated August 11 and 20, 2021.
Explaining the reason for writing the letters, FBR referred to a virtual conference of the Commissioners held on August 10, 2021, wherein it was directed that a quarterly review meeting would be conducted by Commissioners (Appeals) with the relevant Chief Commissioners of field offices to highlight legal and factual shortcomings of orders passed by the officers in field formations. Former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood, and the then Chairman FBR, Asim Ahmad, had chaired the meeting.
The clarification said the report was based on an incorrect appraisal of facts, as no such directions had been issued with the purpose to interfere in the judicial process of Commissioners (Appeals). FBR further clarified that the offices of the Commissioners (Appeals) were an independent judicial forum.
“The instructions are of advisory nature and do not place Commissioners IR (Appeals) under the administrative control of Chief Commissioners or field formations.” It was revealed that the purpose of the instructions was to highlight legal and factual shortcomings of orders of the officers to help improve the quality of assessment orders, as this would help reduce unnecessary litigation, as weak assessment orders did not stand the test of appeal and burdened the taxpayers as well as the department with unnecessary litigation.
FBR has stated that in view of the increasing workload of the Commissioners IR (Appeals), the said letter is also being withdrawn to allow them to concentrate more on timely disposal of pending appeal cases.