Increased tax collection must for ending financial issues: President Alvi

President Alvi emphasises on creating easiness for taxpayers
LAHORE: November 12 - President Dr Arif Alvi addressing the ceremony of the Federal Tax Ombudsman at Governor House. APP

LAHORE, Nov 12 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan must enhance its tax collection and the tax-to-GDP ratio in order to overcome its perennial financial issues and end its undue reliance on foreign aid.

The president expressed these views while addressing an awareness seminar about the role of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), at Governor House on Saturday.

Increased tax collection must for ending financial issues: President Alvi

He urged the need to facilitate tax-payers by dispensing speedy and cost-effective justice to aggrieved taxpayers against the maladministration of tax officials, adding that the adopting of people-friendly attitude and open-door policy by tax officials would encourage more people to voluntarily become part of the tax-net.

President underlined the need to end the practice of frivolous litigation by the tax administration against the decisions of FTO in cases where the cost of litigation exceeded the amount of tax involved to save government departments’ time and resources.

He further said that taxes were essential for effectively running the governance system, adding that the business community should voluntarily comply with the tax regime whereas the tax machinery should facilitate the taxpayers and make filing of taxes easier and reduce the cost of tax compliance to further widen the tax base.

The president said that latest IT tools, including complaint management system, web-based chatbots, web portals, and mobile applications, could be adopted to enhance the registration and resolution of tax payers’ complaints.

He urged FTO to effectively play its role in the resolution of complaints by creating awareness among people about its role and services. He appreciated FTO for incorporating the alternative dispute resolution to mediate between the taxpayers and FBR for achieving mutual agreement and settlement among the parties which, he said, not only provided expeditious relief to the taxpayers, but also reduced the cost litigation for FBR.

Dr Arif Alvi said the process of lodging the complaint by the affected should be made easier by using electronic means of communication for lodging or filing complaints and recording of statements by the complainants and witnesses as this, he said, would encourage the affectees to approach FTO for the resolution of their issues against the maladministration of tax officials.

The president said that Pakistan had enacted laws to ensure the protection of women’s property rights wherein Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment at Workplace (FOSPAH) would help the women in vacating the encroached upon property registered in her name within stipulated time period, adding that it was a big step towards the economic and financial empowerment of women.

The president said that although Pakistan was going through challenging times but it had all the essential ingredients to rise to glory in a short span of time provided we embrace emerging and developing technologies in all fields, desist from getting involved in petty issues, focus on bigger visions and missions and work for the progress and prosperity of the country.

He stressed upon the need to follow the sacred teachings of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in letter and spirit to establish a welfare state like that of Madina.

Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman while addressing the seminar, appreciated FTO in resolving the grievances of the tax payers and providing timely and free of cost relief to aggrieved tax payers.

He said that efforts must be made to encourage more people to pay taxes and become part of the tax-net as Pakistan had low tax-to-GDP ratio as compared to other countries.

He further said that unfriendly attitudes towards the taxpayers should be strongly discouraged and completely eliminated as they deterred the people from becoming part of the tax net.

Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Asif Mehmmod Jah, said that FTO was providing relief to tax payers in 45 days in a cost-effective manner using its online and other modern means of communication.

He said that FTO had provided tax-refunds to contractual employees of different government employees, including PTV.

Increased tax collection must for ending financial issues: President Alvi

He informed that an unprecedented increase in the registration and resolution of tax payers’ complaints had been witnessed, adding that 5494 complaints were received in the first ten months of 2022 as compared to 2414 complaints in the whole year of 2021.

He highlighted that disposal rate had increased by 113% where 5117 complaints were resolved in the first ten months of 2022.

Earlier, President Dr Alvi distributed tax-refund cheques among people whose complaints had been resolved by FTO.
Officials of FTO and members of the business community attended the seminar.

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