KARACHI: The Ministry of Finance through Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) spends millions of rupee for improving tax recovery system and appoints commissioners, assistant commissioners and tax specialist lawyers, but they do not defend its cases before the Commissioners or Tribunals which causes loss of cases worth millions of rupee against big tax-payers.
There is same situation in Appellate Tribunal of Inland Revenue (ATIR) Karachi branch and despite the number of letters sent to the Chairman FBR and finance ministry by the tribunal, hundreds of government cases against different tax evaders and companies are pending and waiting for government’s representative, FBR expert versions and point of view.
Similarly, the most of the decision of the Commissioner Inland Revenue (CIR) against the tax-payers are passed without following the rules of law and notices to parties. It means, the CIR has passed several orders against the tax-payers without hearing/listening to them which are against the law.
The source in the tribunal said, “we have number of cases pending in the tribunal but FBR did not send their representatives to follow their cases and often tax evading companies win the cases as government inexperience officials or DRs representing the FBR have no knowledge about the law or it do not follow it properly under senior representatives.”
The ATIR is a powerful tribunal set up by the federal government to resolve Income Tax, Federal Excise Duty (FED) and Withholding Tax disputes and the government has appointed Muhammad Jawed Zakaria as Judicial Member and Farzana Jabeen Accountant Member.
“The non-serious attitude of the FBR and finance ministry is causing delay in decisions or loss worth billion of rupee revenue,” the source said. The government through Large Tax-Payer Units (LTU) challenged the decision of Commissioner Inland Revenue (CIR) in the tribunal but they do not follow it properly owing to incompetency and inexperienced representatives.
Through the letters sent to higher authorities of FBR the Tribunal said, “sometimes the department representatives do not attend court’s proceeding to assist the court and putforth departmental view points. It is more disturbing when this happens in appeal filed by the department.” “It is almost common in every case that the DRs appeared before the court without record of the case or sometime he was busy in other courts and do not appear in every case.”
The source said despite the writing of the letters to the higher authorities, the government or the FBR department do not take effective measures and no serious attention has been given to this Tribunal by the ranking authorities Chief Commissioners RTOs and LTUs.
On questioning, one of the judge of this Tribunal said, “the DRs while appearing and addressing the courts do not maintain the necessary decorum and their conduct does not indicate the due respect for the court.” This Tribunal had suggested several times that a separate DRs legal wing should be created in FBR and they should be trained according to international law practices so that they can fight government cases properly.
If the government or FBR adopts effective measures for defending the fiscal matter before the Tribunal/Court, it can save revenue worth billions of rupee in a year. It may be ensured by the higher authorities that the DRs appearing before the court must be well prepared and with all relevant records so that they may protect the interest of revenue and assist the court in dispensation of justice.
In different judgments, the Tribunal has asked to the learned Member (legal) FBR, learned member (Admin) FBR and the learned Chief CIR, LTU, Karachi, the Chief CIR RTO-I, the chief CIR RTO-II, the learned chief IR RTO-III, Karachi for their necessary action and issuance of directions to all the learned CIRs (A) to issue notices to the DCIR in each and every case for obtaining comments or view points and taking strict disciplinary action against them. Despite all the letters and warnings, the FBR authorities did not show any active role to assist the Tribunal.