Senate body stops FBR from raiding business premises

PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: On the demand of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Senate Standing Committee on Finance has issued a notification, clarifying that in future tax officers will not raid any industrial unit, factory or shop, which regularly pays taxes and files tax returns, without permission of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman or its member concerned.

LCCI President Abdul Basit disclosed this while speaking at a press conference on Friday.

Earlier, LCCI members held a meeting with the Senate Standing Committee on Finance in Islamabad where they highlighted the issues pertaining to misuse of discretionary powers by Inland Revenue officers under Sections 38A, 38B, 40A, 40B, 176 and 177 as well as raids on business premises.

Basit praised Senate Standing Committee Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla for taking a prompt action and stopping further raids by FBR officers without approval of the board’s chairman or its member concerned.

Through the notification, businessmen have also been advised to complain to the FBR chairman, as well as inform the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, along with all evidences in case of a raid or misuse of discretionary powers by the tax officers.

Basit decried that the misuse of discretionary powers and raids on business premises were badly harming the business environment. “FBR officers were used to entering the premises of tax return filers along with a large number of security personnel to threaten and harass them without permission of the FBR chief,” he said.

He suggested that the freezing of bank accounts should be the last option.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2017.

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