PESHAWAR - Federal Tax Ombudsman Shoaib Suddle, while taking strong notice of a complaint by Khyber Pakhtukhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) about stoppage of payment of refund on sales tax and income tax, held out assurance of seeking explanation from Regional Tax Office (RTO) in this regard.

Talking with members of KPCCI here Friday, FTO also assured the businessmen that a report would be sought from RTO over stoppage of refund besides inquiry would be ordered over blocking of system launched for payment of refund to the business community. Sohaib Suddle expressed these views during his visit to KPCCI, said a press release. During the visit, FTO held a meeting with businessmen of KP under the chairmanship of President KPCCI Dr Yousaf Sarwar.

During the meeting, FTO asked the businessmen to send their complaints regarding refund and withholding tax directly to FTO. He said proper notice would be taken over complaints and strict disciplinary action would be taken against the officials found guilty.

In the welcome address, President KPCCI Dr. Yousaf Sarwar took the matter of delay in payment of refund on sales tax and income tax and said from the last six months no payment has been made in this regards.

He said business community is willing to pay tax but wanted to know where this amount is being spent and how they would get their due right.

Dr. Yousaf Sarwar also took up the issue of Multi P audit and observed that in presence of STARR and CREST systems there is no need of mutual audit. He also lauded the services of FTO for providing relief to business community of the country and stressed that the FTO should play its effective role in introduction of business friendly reforms in income tax system. In a reply, Dr. Shoaib Suddle admitted loopholes in tax system.

However, he added, with formation of FTO the business community has benefited a lot. He said in 2012, refunds to the tune of Rs. 9.5 billion were paid to businessmen which is 45 percent more than the payment of 2011.

Similarly, on average around 1550 complaints are being received to FTO annually and decision is made on each complaint within 45 days. Apart from complaints, about 212000 cases of refund were also cleared in 2012.

The PRAL system, he continued, is the main source of all problems and the issues of refund delay are due to this system. Shoaib Suddle said the PRAL system was introduced by obtaining hefty loan of dollar 350 million, but the whole system has been failed badly in delivering.

He also disclosed that as a result of FTO inquiry about 7922 containers of Afghan Transit Trade were stole out of which about 80 percent containers disappeared from Karachi port.

He said the FTO has directed FBR and NAB to not disturb the stake holders and lay hands over only the real culprits.  After the FTO report, the FBR has received Rs. 27 billion as duty from Jan 2011.

The meeting was also addressed by businessmen included Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, Zahid ullah Shinwari, Abdul Hameed Gurwara and others.