The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has taken notice of what it called the “coldblooded indifference of state functionaries while handling public complaints” in a case pertaining to computerized payment receipt (CPR) issued by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
In this connection, the FTO issued an order against the FBR on Tuesday where it directed FBR to facilitate the employees of the school and get the particulars corrected in the CPR.
Briefly, the complainant was a principal of a school in Multan. An amount of Rs. 69, 885 was deducted from the salary of school employees under Section 149 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 for the month of August 2020 and deposited in the government treasury. Inadvertently, the tax period was mentioned as 2019 instead of 2020.
The principal applied for correction to RTO, and this request was forwarded to RTO Islamabad which was rejected. Therefore complainant took up the matter with Federal Tax Ombudsman. The complaint was referred to the secretary revenue division for comments. The RTO Islamabad instead of facilitating the complainant forwarded comments stating that the complainant is not an affectee/party in the CPR, therefore, not entitled to apply for said correction, and prima facie, the complaint filed is without any substance which may be rejected.
However, FTO has observed that the contention of the department CPR Coordinator-lR, RTO Islamabad was incorrect that the principal being the complainant was not a direct party and therefore not entitled for applying correction of particulars. The principal being in charge of the institution was fully justified to safeguard the interest of employees of her school who could not take credit of tax deducted because of the wrong mentioning of the tax year in the CPR. Moreover, it was a fact that organizational FTNs were used by all sub-offices of the given organization for tax withholding purposes.
Interestingly RTO Multan raised no objection while taxes were deducted and deposited by the complainant, as principal, by using the same FTN. But when the same person applied for a harmless correction neither RTO Multan was ready to shoulder its responsibility nor the central CPR office at Islamabad was attentive to the genuine grievances of the complainant.
FTO order said that this attitude reflects the coldblooded indifference of state functionaries while handling public complaints. If Circular No.1 (2)-SS(BDT)18-CPR/280845-R dated 30.12.2019 fails to respond to a genuine problem, it must be compassionately reviewed.
It was therefore a case of clear hardship having no revenue implication and yet the department was denying to facilitate the complainant on the strength of Circular No.1(2)-SS(BDT)18-CPR/280845-R.
Accordingly, the ombudsman has directed FBR to get the particulars corrected in the CPR enabling the employees of the school to take credit for tax already deducted in the Year 2020 and report compliance within 30 days.