ISLAMABAD   -    The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday notified the amendments in Sales Tax Rules 2006 and Federal Excise Rules 2005 for establishing the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. The new system for alternative dispute resolution would help in resolving thousands of pending cases in various legal forums. According to the plan, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee (ADRC) will be set up, headed by a retired judge. The decisions of the committee will be binding on both the applicants and the FBR. However, criminal proceedings and legal implications for other cases will not be taken up by the ADRC.

According to the notification, any person interested for resolution of any dispute under section 47A would make a written application for alternative dispute resolution to the Board in the form. The Board, after examination of contents of the application, would appoint and notify a Committee, within a period of sixty days from receipt of the application. A retired judge not below the rank of District & Sessions Judge would be chairperson of the Committee. After notification of the Committee, the applicant or the Commissioner or both, would withdraw appeal pending before any court of law or an appellate authority relating to the hardship or dispute stated in the application.

The chairperson of the Committee would be responsible for deciding the procedure to be followed by the Committee which may, inter-alia, include the following, namely: - (a) to decide about the place of sitting of the Committee, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner having jurisdiction over the applicant; (b) to specify date and time for conducting proceedings by the Committee; (c) to supervise the proceedings of the Committee.  (d) to issue notices by courier or registered post or electronic mail to the applicant; (e) to requisition and produce relevant records or witnesses from the Commissioner or other concerned quarters; (f) to ensure attendance of the applicant for hearing either in person or through an advocate, representative or a tax consultant; (g) to consolidate decision of the Committee and communicate it to the Board, the Commissioner and the applicant; and (h) for any other matter covered under these rules.

The Committee may conduct inquiry, seek expert opinion, direct any officer of Inland Revenue or any other person to conduct an audit and make recommendations to the Committee in respect of dispute or hardship. The Committee would decide the dispute within one hundred and twenty days from the date of receipt of order of withdrawal from the Board.

Decision of majority members of the Committee would be construed decision of the Committee which would be communicated by the Committee to the Board, the Commissioner having jurisdiction and the applicant. The decision of the Committee shall be binding on the Commissioner and the aggrieved person. On receipt of the Committee’s decision, the applicant shall make payment of sales tax and other taxes as specified by the Committee in its decision and the Commissioner shall modify order as per decision of the Committee. The Committee may determine the issue and may thereafter seek further information or data or expert opinion or make or cause to be made such inquiries or audit as it may deem fit, to decide the matter specified, the FBR said.

The chairman of the Committee appointed shall be paid a lump sum one-time remuneration of Rs 200,000 for his services. The member of the Committee appointed shall be paid a lump sum one time remuneration of Rs 100,000 for his services. The remuneration specified shall be paid by the Board from its budget allocation within 15 days of the receipt of the order, the FBR added.