KARACHI - The businessmen have proposed some tax reforms which will boost the tax revenue collection of the country. G.R. Arshad, member of recently formed FPCCI committee to make budget proposals and owner of the Rauf Textile and Printing Mills told The Nation that the committee was finalising its proposals for the upcoming budget. Informing about the proposals, he said that the investment scheme had expired in December last year, which allowed the taxpayers to declare their investment/properties not shown in their tax returns after paying income tax at 2 per cent. He said it should be extended for another year as this scheme received good response from the taxpayers. In order to facilitate taxpayers, it is suggested that this scheme must be extended at least for another year with some amendments making it further simple, he said. Highlighting another issue, he said the companies have been declared as withholding agents and such agents collect income tax on behalf of FBR and file in prescribed format monthly and annually returns. The FBR is getting these services free of cost while as such FBR as master should pose confidence in their agents and ensure that they are treated with respect by Tax authorities, he said, adding that at present the withholding agents are deemed to be defaulters/thieves and in the name of monitoring of withholding taxes audited accounts and complete set of accounting books, vouchers bank statements etc are required to be produced before the Taxation Officer. There is no difference at all between audit proceedings and monitoring of withholding taxes so this was unnecessary harassment of taxpayers, he lamented. G.R. Arshad who also the Chairman of Standing Committee of FPCCI for Direct taxes further said the exporters who file their returns under section 115(4) of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 as the income tax deducted at the time of exports proceeds constitutes full and final discharge of their income tax liability but tax payers also required to produce complete books before the Taxation Officers for the purpose of monitoring of withholding income tax which seems to cause unnecessary harassment to the exporters for ulterior motives. He also questioned the selection of cases for audit and said it needs to be made through defined rules without giving any discretionary powers to Commissioner of Income Tax. At present, the desk audit of electronically filed income tax returns indicates the points which need scrutiny/clarification and the tax payers should be asked by the Commissioner of Income Tax to clarify the same. He suggested that the selection of cases for audit should be made only after the clarification/ explanation given by the tax payer is not considered satisfactory by the Commissioner. He proposed that the top ten tax payers in a Division must be given preferential and respectable treatment owing to encourage tax payers to pay their taxes accurately. But practically such tax payers were treated with suspicion and their books/record and details were requisitioned by the Tax authorities on one pretext or the other, he alleged and added the tax authorities should make it clear to such tax payers that they are required to pay even more tax. However, the confidence in tax payer was non-existent which was not a good sign for any good tax collector. He claimed that a number of cos who have become dormant due to deteriorating economic situation and electronically filing nil statements of withholding tax and annually return. These cos were receiving notices from Income Tax Dept to produce record for filing nil returns which was simply harassment of tax payers apparently for ulterior motives, he said. Stating another difficulty he said that the payment of refund claims was being delayed by Income authorities as the assessment order is passed by one officer and refund claim is processed and paid by another officer. Even the original income tax paid challans were not being accepted by the Taxation Officers and they referred them to computer section for verification was unnecessary practice of time consuming and frustrating affair, he concluded.