KARACHI - Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Muhammad Shoaib Suddle said that one of the great innovations in human evolution has been the development of justice sector institutions. The modern state with its complex infrastructure in a fast moving technological age owes its very existence and survival to these institutions, and the institution of the Ombudsman stands out as one such creation that is unique in that it being rapidly embraced worldwide whatever the ideological underpinning of the state. Addressing the members of the SITE Association of Industry in his office Dr Shoaib Suddle advised them to take advantage of existence of Federal Tax Ombudsman Office in Pakistan. The benefits of filing complaint before the FTO Office are as follows: Complaint in the matter of maladmini-stration indulged in by 'tax employee in Federal taxes and duty matters may be filed within 6 months of the person aggrieved, first had the notice of the matter alleged in the complaint. In special circumstances, Hon. FTO has powers to condone the delay - no fee is involved in filing or hearing or review matter - the complainant can personally represent his complaint - complaint is disposed of within 60 days generally and implementation is generally made as per law. The Federal Tax Ombudsmans HQs is at Islamabad with regional offices at Lahore, Karachi and a recently established regional office at Quetta. Another regional office is planned to be set up in Peshawar soon. FTOs jurisdiction extends to all functionaries of income tax, customs, sales tax and federal excise, who are subject to the administrative control of the FBR. The FTO has quasi-judicial authority but his office is not a court. However, where his directions are defied, he is empowered to take action for contempt and his powers in this regard are the same as of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Adding further he said that so far, most of the work done by the Tax Ombudsman in Pakistan has been of the 'reactive kind - responding to complaints deemed fit for investigation. Since 2000 to date the FTO has disposed of more than 13,000 complaints making specific recommendations for implementation. Three in four recommendations made by the FTO are implemented by the FBR and representations are filed before the President of Pakistan in about 25pc cases, of which in 70 -75pc cases the FTOs recommendations are maintained. Most complaints - about 70-75pc relate to non-payment or delayed payment of claims of refund of excess tax paid. Suddle said that after taking oath as Federal Tax Ombudsman Pakistan in June 2008, he had disposed of over 800 complaints including over 200 up to four-year old cases pertaining to 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The bulk of the complaints (about 66pc) received pertain to Income Tax, about 20pc to Sales Tax and the remaining relate to Customs. He said Our target is to clear all complaints filed in 2009 by 31st March 2010, so that we are left with complaints that are less than three-month old. We have also set ourselves a target of clearing over 60pc complaints in 2010 within 60 days, he added. In the end he said that meaningful interaction between the Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman and stakeholders like SITE is essential in the context of getting vital feedback on the problems faced by the taxpaying industrial units. He said that the Federal Tax Ombudsman is committed to help bring about positive change in the mindset of tax functionaries and alleviate the difficulties faced by taxpayers due to tax maladministration and sought the industrialists help and cooperation in this endeavour. Earlier Salim Parekh, Chairman, SITE Association of Industry welcoming FTO Dr Suddle said that the industrialists had full faith in FTO Office and the industrialists community is seeking due help from them in redressal the complaints pertaining to delay in sales tax, income tax refunds including maladministration complaints. Others who took part in deliberation were Haroon Farooki, Former President of KCCI and Chairman SITE Association, Nisar Shekhani, Former Chairman, Ahsan Arshad Ayub, Senior Vice Chairman, Shahnawaz Ishtiaq, Vice Chairman, Naseem Anwar, Ali Ahmed, Iqbal Arbi, Muhammad Ali, Sanaullah Abdullah, Shaukat Iqbal, Former President of KCCI and all showed confidence into the FTO Office and said that they are all satisfied with the working of thereof.