KARACHI: Taxpayers in Pakistan are facing a series of problems due to the non-functioning of the e-portal of the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB), which has been dysfunctional for the last many days. The SRB e-portal is the online platform for filing and paying service tax, as well as performing other related tasks.

In a letter addressed to the SRB, a group of taxpayers highlighted the consequential and resulting issues, which have turned into a chaotic situation especially for the last few days. They urged the SRB to provide urgent redressal and fix the technical glitches in the e-portal, otherwise the voluntary extension of due dates of payment of service tax and filing of July return till August 24th would be of no use.

The letter listed the following disruptions caused by the non-operational e-portal:

  • Non-submission of filing of SRB returns: The inability to access and utilize the SRB e-portal has hampered the ability of taxpayers to comply with statutory obligations. This has resulted in delays in filing returns and making necessary adjustments, which are prone to lead to unnecessary legal complications.
  • Cross input adjustment between Provincial and Federal Sales Tax: The lack of a functional SRB portal has made it extremely difficult for taxpayers to perform cross input adjustments between Provincial and Federal Sales Tax, which is integral part of return filing of major numbers of taxpayers. This has resulted in delay filing Federal Sales Tax Returns and leads to double taxation scenarios, which is completely unwarranted.
  • Search Taxpayer: Taxpayers are unable to use the feature of Search Taxpayer, which bars them to confirm the status and registration of person they are dealing with, leaving them in a difficult situation as to whether the information provided is correct and exists in the Database of the SRB.
  • Payment Difficulties: Another major concern arising from the non-operational portal is the difficulty in making timely payments of SRB taxes. Taxpayers are facing challenges in accessing payment mechanisms, which in turn affects their timely compliance and meeting deadlines. Although SRB has extended the due dates yet the failure of e-portal has halted every possible means to do so.
  • E-registration: New registrations are taking place on a daily basis, this delay in the maintenance of website has barred the taxpayer from getting themselves registered in the system, causing which may lead to additional taxes being charged or withheld at the time of transaction.

The letter also stated that these issues should not be a concern for taxpayers alone but factually should be a concern for the regulator. A regulator, which is essentially reposed with the responsibility to take care to notify its taxpayer of its failure to bring in the correction in the software on which depends the most basic and the fundamental function of tax compliance i.e. return filing.

The SRB has not yet responded to the letter or issued any statement regarding the status of its e-portal. The taxpayers are hoping that their grievances will be addressed soon and that they will be able to resume their normal tax activities without any further hassle.