KARACHI: During a short span of one year, Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah (HI-SI) has achieved a record and an incredible disposal of 6034 complaints in 2022.

Addressing a press conference, Dr. Arsalan Subuictageen, Advisor FTO, Islamabad, said in the year 2022, FTO office received 6959 complaints out of which 6034 have been disposed of, as compared to year 2021, wherein 3371 complaints were received, out of which 2868 have been disposed of.

Being a former Senior Tax Officer, the FTO has a vast experience of tax matters and has resorted to maximum utilization of Section 33 of the FTO Ordinance, 2000, regarding informal resolution of disputes.

The FTO Office had its presence in seven cities when he took over last year on 29 th September, 2021. The FTO’s presence has been expanded in year 2022 to other five cities, including Sargodha, Sialkot, Sukkur, Abbottabad and Hub to provide speedy justice to the aggrieved taxpayers at their doorstep. Besides, as a new initiative, he has appointed 34 leading businessmen as honourary advisors after selecting them from various chambers of commerce and industry to facilitate aggrieved taxpayers in filing the complaints to the office of FTO.

FTO’s objective is to resolve tax matters of the aggrieved taxpayers on priority basis in a transparent, swift and cost free manner within the shortest possible time span, to achieve these objectives, the FTO has introduced:

·       An open door policy

·       Quick disposal

·       Marit based relief

·       Awareness campaign (87 Sessions)

·       Advisory Committee revamped (47 new Members added)

·       Creation of Overseas Pakistanis Grievance Redressal Cell

·       Special research studies conducted

·       Translation of FTO Ordinance, 2000, in Urdu

·       Monthly Newsletter

No fee is charged against filing of complaint, and a complainant can file his complaint in written form or through what’s app, on webpage or on mobile app of the FTO office.

FTO enjoys the stature of Supreme Court Judge and he can award six months punishment against defiance charges or on charges of contempt of court law.

Only the Hon’ble President of Pakistan is empowered to hear appeal against FTO’s decision. FTO has decided in recent past that FBR should not deduct tax on the income of daily wagers and contract employees, falling below the minimum threshold of taxable income. Similarly, FTO had ordered return of sales tax difference in booking and delivery of Suzuki cars to their purchasers. As many as ten thousand customers of Suzuki Motors benefited from this landmark decision.

The FTO Secretariat is undergoing a turnaround since December, 2021. Unprecedented series of awareness seminars and outreach sessions have resulted in phenomenal increase in the registration and disposal of complaints.

During current year 2022, 6959 fresh complaints have been filed by the taxpayers, out of which 6034 have been decided. Furthermore, 97 fresh Own Motion cases have been registered and 133 Own Motion Case have been decided. Out of these complaints, 82 were rejected.