President Dr. Arif Alvi has reprimanded the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for harassing a taxpayer who filed a complaint with the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) against FBR on the non-issuance of a genuine refund.
The President rejected the representation of FBR against the order of the Federal Tax Ombudsman by observing that the case had repeatedly been mishandled and the conduct of FBR officers amounted to harassment.
He regretted observing that the refund application filed in 2015, which by law was required to be disposed of within 60 days, remained pending due to inaction by FBR for almost 5 years and was taken up only after the complaint was filed with FTO, and that too in a vindictive manner.
However, the FBR once again charged the complainant on the same issue under another section of the Income Tax Ordinance. The FTO, once again, reprimanded FBR on account of harassing the taxpayer. Instead of implementing the FTO’s decision, FBR once again filed a representation with the President.
The President, while rejecting the representation, observed that the conduct of FBR officers was tantamount to maladministration, adding that neglect, inattention, incompetence, inefficiency, ineptitude, arbitrariness, and administrative excess in the discharge of duties were also the acts of maladministration.
He regretted that due care had not been taken in processing the case and further asked FBR to deal with the matter per the law and take a holistic view without any prejudice/bias and personal grudges.
As per details, Mst Rukhsana Kanwal (the complainant) had filed complaints for Tax Years 2015 to 2019 against the non-issuance of tax refund with FTO. The Mohtasib, through its consolidated order dated 20.03.2020, had recommended disposing of the complainant’s refund applications for all the years as per law after providing her with the opportunity of hearing.
The tax officers, instead of issuing the refund, first charged the complainant arbitrarily without giving the taxpayer the opportunity of being heard with turnover tax under section 113 of the Income Tax Ordinance, and when this charge was annulled by the Commissioner Inland Revenue-CIR (Appeals), the officer again charged the complainant disregarding the order of CIR (Appeal) under section 122(5A) on the ground that a gift was received through the non-banking channel while deliberately ignoring the irrefutable evidence filed by the complainant of banking transaction.
The President upheld the order of FTO wherein FBR was ordered to hold an internal inquiry into the glaring incidence of maladministration by the concerned officers on account of creating problems for those who seek justice at the forum of FTO. He further directed FBR to ensure cooperation and discourage such typical vindictive reactions by its officers.