KARACHI: Through better and more extensive use of information technology, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has introduced several measures to simplify procedures for paying taxes and to minimize contact between the taxpayers and the tax collectors.

For making payment of taxes and duties more convenient, FBR has launched Inland Revenue Information System (Iris) for income tax and sales tax while Web Based One Customs (WeBOC) System is launched to facilitate trade.

Iris, a new web-based, integrated, end-to-end system which is highly configurable and customizable was conceived, designed and implemented to cover all business processes of income tax and sales tax, to replace 37 different systems.

The simplified income tax registration module launched via Iris is a highly customizable and configurable system that facilitates prospective from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.

The simplified sales tax registration module replaced the earlier system, which was not a risk-based system and had faulty verification mechanism. The new module facilitates manufacturer, retailers, importers, wholesalers, distributors and commercial exporters to get sales tax registration smoothly and quickly.

The new income tax declaration module, which is a complete end-to-end solution for Inland Revenue Services (IRS), provides mechanism for online filing by taxpayer and also provides mechanism for field office to file manually received returns.

It also provides standard version of calculation of taxes thereby facilitating it for the taxpayer to work out tax liability and eliminating calculation error and disputes of interpretation and processes Universal Self-Assessment Order (USAS) same day and updates taxpayer ledger accordingly.

Withholding tax module is one of the most important modules of Iris whereby each transaction will be reported by the withholding agent as and when it occurs, eliminating any chance of wrong calculation or wrong exemption.

It facilitates withholding agents to prepare their bulk statements in offline mode in a prescribed excel sheet which provides some basic data health validations.

It also provides single version of calculation considering time based standard rates, exemptions and Active Taxpayer List (ATL) status.

IT exemption certificate and quota management module is a highly customizable and configurable system. Due to manual system of tax exemption, there was an evident problem in recording and reconciliation. Iris employs this module to address all these issues.

Revenue module of Iris is developed to facilitate tax payment through alternate delivery channels  including internet banking, phone banking, ATM etc.

WeBOC is an indigenously developed, web-based computerized clearance system, providing end to end automated customs clearance of import and export goods. The system was developed jointly by the Pakistan Customs and PRAL, and was first implemented on trial basis at Port Muhammad Bin Qasim. Subsequently, WeBOC was further rolled out at other terminals and customs stations.

Presently WeBOC has over 45,000 registered users i.e. businesses, government departments (Anti-Narcotic Force, Engineering Development Board, State Bank of Pakistan, Ministry of Climate Change, Railways, Income Tax Department, Provincial Motor Registering Authorities, Commercial Banks etc).

Presently, 30 percent import consignments are cleared immediately (Green channel – without any intervention), 49 percent on the basis of uploaded documents (Yellow channel) and 21 percent (Red channel – deemed high-risk goods).

Importantly the system has brought about uniformity in customs clearances across the country.

Its modules include goods declaration, warehousing and module to handle break-bulk, modules to handle commercial transit cargo for Afghanistan, manufacturing bonds, reverse transit and clearances from border customs stations.