Ombudsman calls for follow-up on tax evasion


ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) does not have an information technology-based tracking system and has been recommended by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) to design an institutional tracking mechanism in cases involving alleged evasion of billions of rupees in taxes.

An internal analysis by the FTO office identified that the FBR field formations did not have a computerized tracking system or put in place an institutional mechanism to track cases that uncovered massive tax evasions. The FTO has uncovered a number of potential cases of tax evasion.

The OTF office took on a major case of M/s Hope 87 Pakistan. A detailed investigation report and case study was prepared after the case review was confirmed and shared by the General Directorate (DG), Broadening of the Tax Base (BTB) FBR.

This valuable information was duly shared in December 2018 with the relevant field formations for taking legal action against these entities for not reporting true details of their receipts/income and failing to discharge their responsibilities as retainers.

However, in 2019, the FBR leadership suddenly suspended this whole BTB scheme overnight; dissolve BTB Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi zones. The function of DG BTB has been relegated to a ceremonial entity assigned as an additional charge.

So, in addition to losing efficient organization, the repository of all of the above data/information suddenly died out. The FTO’s investigation clearly established that the information transmitted by DG BTB in December 2018 had neither been used before the intervention of the office nor analyzed vis-à-vis the position on the ground of the entity in question. .

None of the FBR field officers with jurisdiction over the present case in December 2018 and November 2021 were vigilant enough to initiate the action, which was initiated after three years and that too after the intervention of the FTO Secretariat.

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