President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Junaid Esmail Makda, while appreciating the recent announcement to extend the last date for filing income tax returns till November 30, 2018, advised the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs Asad Umer that keeping in view the complications in the newly introduced form, the government should simplify filing procedures by immediately discontinuing the current new form and restoring the previous form for filing income tax returns as all taxpayers and practitioners are well-acquainted with the previous version therefore they will absolutely have no problems in easily submitting their returns via the old form.
In his letter to Finance Minister, President KCCI added that the restoration of previous form, which was agreed upon after great deliberations, would surely give a boost to number of taxpayers in the Active Taxpayers List otherwise, the newly introduced form is likely to shrink the number of active taxpayers and prove counterproductive for all the efforts being made by the present government to enhance tax base of the country.
He said that many KCCI’s members have been facing a lot of problems in adopting the newly introduced IRIS ADX software and are finding it difficult to submit their Income Tax Returns through this software for offline tax filings which is too technical, wastes a lot of time and contains some IT related glitches as well, making it an exercise in futility. “Prior to implementing such technically difficult and cumbersome forms, the FBR should carry out massive awareness campaigns by holding maximum number of workshops and seminars at all levels as the filers belong to all three segments of the society i.e. the upper, middle and lower class.
He further informed that this year, FBR has made the businesses attributes section mandatory which was optional last year whereas it has been observed that the said attributes list is incomplete, leaving enough room for errors and misfiling which is likely to become a major cause of creating issues between FBR and filers. In this regard, Junaid Makda requested the FBR to make the attributes section optional as per past practice and it should be made mandatory only when the attributes list is completely accurate and comprehensive.
“The Karachi Chamber has been constantly requesting the decision makers from time to time to simplify the tax procedures but unfortunately no attention has ever been paid to our just demand, on the contrary, they are making the process more complex that is going to discourage the masses. I fear that FBR may not be able to achieve the desired results because of the cumbersome taxation procedures”, he added.
President KCCI said that severe anxiety has emerged amongst thousands of taxpayers because of the recent change by insertion of the new section 182A under the income tax law whereby the late filing would expose taxpayer to be treated as “non-filer” for next year because his name and NTN would not be included in the active taxpayers’ list till March 2020 which would be a sheer injustice to loyal taxpayers who may not be penalized for the whole year.
He was fairly optimistic that keeping in view the grievances being faced by a number of taxpayers, Finance Minister would consider KCCI’s request to restore the previous form for filing Income Tax returns as per aspirations of the business and industrial community.