ISLAMABAD - President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) Ahmed Hassan Moughal has lauded the new approach of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for selection of lesser number of audit cases for income tax, sales tax and federal excise duty for the tax year 2017 through computer balloting.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, he termed it a healthy approach that would minimize the audit related issues of the taxpayers and encourage non-filers towards tax net. Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that last year, FBR had selected around 45000 audit cases that have been reduced to just over 14000 this year which showed that FBR was now focused on conducting professional audit instead of creating harassment in the taxpayers.

He said previously, same taxpayers were selected repeatedly for audit that always created lot of concerns in the business community.  The President ICCI said that the prevailing audit policy of FBR was quite problematic and stressed that FBR should further improve its audit policy. He said that once a taxpayer was selected for audit, at least five years exemption from next audit should be given to such taxpayer.

Prevailing audit policy of FBR quite problematic

He urged that for audit exercise, FBR should focus on quality instead of quantity. He said that audit policy should be formulated in such a way as it should encourage people towards tax compliance.

Ahmad Hassan Moughal further said that FBR should review the audit powers of Commissioners to issue audit notices to taxpayers and these powers should be clearly defined as the current trend of frequent issuance of audit notices to the same taxpayers was not making any useful contribution towards expansion of tax base in the country. 

He said separation of assessment office from the audit office could be a good option to improve audit process. He emphasized that FBR should utilize technology to eliminate direct interaction between tax officials and taxpayers.

The President ICCI assured that business community would fully support FBR initiatives to bring reforms in audit policy with a view to change it from traditional audit techniques to a professional audit approach.  He also appreciated the launch of new website of FBR that looked more professional and informative than the old one.

ICST for introducing

reforms in energy sector

Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST), Shahid Rasheed Butt has said that masses are not responsible for failures of energy sector and should not be punished for mismanagement in the energy sector.

In a statement here on Sunday, he said that the government should introduce reforms in the power and gas sectors so that expenses can be reduced and relief could be provided to the masses.

He said that the energy sector was going down steadily since last three decades damaging masses and the economy which should be noticed. The Patron ICST said that losses and theft of electricity have jumped from one billion rupees daily to two billion while the losses in the gas sector have jumped to Rs50 billion which cannot be ignored.

He said that 26 percent of the electricity production is lost to mismanagement and theft which has pushed circular debt beyond Rs 1.5 trillion dragging down masses, industry and agriculture.

The government has burdened masses by tens of billions of rupees in the first week of April by increasing prices of electricity, petrol and LNG which is unjustified which is to hit the economy, he observed. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that gas distribution companies are getting forty percent premium on sale of gas but still showing losses to milk masses which need a probe.

He said that the country will need 50 billion dollars for import of energy in the next eleven years which will be more than current exports and remittances hence difficult to manage, therefore, reforms in the energy sector should not be delayed otherwise oil import bill will be enough to sink the economy.