KARACHI: The government has introduced significant changes to the alternative dispute resolution process for taxpayers registered under the Sales Tax Act and Federal Excise Act, making it mandatory for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to resolve tax disputes within 45 days.

According to a circular issued on Monday, the FBR will now appoint a committee within 15 days of receiving the application for dispute resolution from a registered person, who can propose their terms for resolving the dispute, including an offer for tax payment.

The committee, which will consist of a retired judge not below the rank of a high court judge as the chairperson and two other members representing the FBR and the registered person, will have to decide the dispute within 45 days, extendable by 15 days with written reasons.

The circular said that the amendments aim to simplify the dispute resolution process and make it more cheaper and efficient for taxpayers, who will no longer be required to withdraw pending appeals before appellate fora to resolve the dispute.

The circular also said that the recovery of tax payable by the registered person related to the dispute will be deemed stayed until the committee makes a decision or is dissolved. The decision of the committee will be binding on both parties, unless challenged in a high court within 30 days.