LAHORE: Section 140 of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 is creating mistrust between the banks and the business community. Therefore, it should immediately be withdrawn.
In a statement issued here Friday, LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that giving powers to the FBR officials to attach/freeze bank accounts of business entities, while cases are pending in appeals, would create an environment of mutual mistrust among the business fraternity and the commercial banks.
“The FBR move would not only give a negative message to the local investors but would also discourage the much-needed foreign investment”, Ijaz A. Mumtaz added.”
LCCI president said that attaching/freezing of bank accounts of business entities would also bring additional hardship for the businessmen who were already battling for survival in the presence of energy crisis and high input cost of doing business.
The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz urged the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to immediately stop the FBR from this practice that is pushing the tax payers to the wall besides denting the reputation of a business-friendly government.
He said that attachment of the bank accounts should be the last option but the RTOs/LTUs are wasting no time in taking punitive action to meet the revenue targets. He said that the Federal Board of Revenue was constituted to facilitate the businessmen but it is presently doing the other way round through.
The LCCI President said that the FBR should focus on controlling under-invoicing and curbing the menace of smuggling besides expanding tax net but it is playing arm-twisting by instituting cases for recovery of outstanding dues and attaching bank accounts.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that it is unfortunate that the FBR is not releasing what it owes to the business community but creating troubles for the businessmen for the recovery of its outstanding dues just to meet the revenue targets and for the sake of show of performance.
According to FBR’s own documents, the total amount of refund in the year 2013-14 has reached the staggering amount of Rs.104 billion which is 16.4% higher than the previous year figure of Rs.93.6 billion.
He said that as many as 36000 refund cases are pending with the Federal Board of Revenue. There are companies which could not get cleared their refund cases even after the lapse of 14 years.
The LCCI President said that there should be a level-playing field in this regard. He said that if a tax defaulter is liable to penalties and attachment of bank accounts, the same should apply to FBR functionaries if they fail to release the valid refunds of the businessmen. Accountability in this regard would force the FBR officials to expedite the payment of refunds.
LCCI President also pointed out that it was very unfortunate that if the FBR initiates a case for recovery against any tax payer, he was not given any opportunity to plead his case as the FBR itself is complainant and itself a judge. What justice one can expect of such an institution, the LCCI president said.