President for a friendly, service-oriented and objective tax system
KARACHI : President Dr Arif Alvi said that there is a need to create a friendly, service-oriented and objective tax system where every taxpayer willingly and happily follows the law and pays tax obligations without any fear of exploitation, harassment or intimidation.
He urged all government officials to apply tax laws in their true spirit and intent with a user-friendly interface by preserving underlying objectives of facilitating the taxpayers in the discharge of their tax obligations and resolving issues being faced by them on a proactive basis.
The president was addressing an awareness seminar titled “Roles, functions and Performance of Federal Tax Ombudsman” held here at Sindh Governor House Karachi. FTO’s annual report for the year 2021 was also unveiled at the occasion.
President Arif Alvi said that it was among the primary duties of the Tax Ombudsperson to ensure the dispensation of justice to the aggrieved citizens in a user-friendly atmosphere by according respect and ensuring the dignity of the complainant and resolving the issues faced by him while keeping the view the true spirit and intent of the law without spinning the wordings which sometimes delays the process of dispensation of the justice.
The President said that Ombudsman Secretariats are important organs of the state and can play an effective role in resolving public issues by the right interpretation of concerning laws and providing remedies to the aggrieved citizens. He added that the ombudsmen- whether federal, tax or insurance ombudsmen- are not rivals to government departments and organizations but are there to facilitate the public and ensure their access to the concerned forums for the resolution of their grievances.
The President stressed the need of creating awareness of the services of the Ombudspersons and said that mass awareness was an important element, but a well-thought-out decision was an effective medium of promotion as it reinforces public confidence and persuades more people to refer to the institution to redressal their grievances.
The President said the written words of law sometimes cannot cater to and address all given situations; therefore, any legislation including taxation related is a dynamic process which keeps on evolving to cater to new developments, products, emerging business and trade processes, and development of the society, which sometimes slows down the dispensation of services to the public, therefore, it perpetually requires amendments and right interpretation reflecting the true spirit and intent of the law to ensure prompt, hassle-free services to the targeted publics, he added.
Referring to the era of Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W). and Khulfa-e-Rashidain, the President said that whenever someone was appointed to administer public affairs at that time, he was directed to ensure public access and keep the sense of service to the public supreme. “The spirit of keeping the doors open and listening to people’s grievances must be kept alive,” he stressed.
He further said that corruption and tax evasion prevailed all around the world while there were certain loopholes and anomalies in the law and rules which allow their misuse by the public or the authority. He observed that corruption was a menace that could not be rooted out completely from society but it was regrettable that its proportion in our society was higher than in other nations.
The president said nowadays, unfortunately, fake news, disinformation and misinformation thrive on the words spoken not on the spirit and real intent of the speech. He called upon the journalist community to focus on the real intent and objectives of the statement rather than spinning the news on the choice of words while reporting on serious national issues.
Federal Tax Ombudsman, Dr Asif Mahmood Jah addressing the occasion, said that FTO is a dynamic and vibrant organisation working for giving a respectable status to taxpayers so that they do not face problems in the payment of taxes and resolution of issues. FTO through the resolution of individual and collective issues of a large number of people has become a public relief organisation and its decisions affect millions of people, he said. He added that in a recent case pertaining to deduction in the tax rate on locally assembled vehicles, FTO’s decision provided relief to over 9500 taxpayers while people would get relief in another case of the same nature about tax on tractors.
He informed that FTO has presented recommendations regarding the issue of stuck-up containers of imported Soya beans at the port. He said that FTO would help resolve the issue and the poultry industry would also get relief.
President Arif Alvi, at the occasion, handed over cheques of tax refunds to citizens who had booked vehicles at higher rates but the government afterwards reduced the rate.