FBR Chairman attends “Big Fast Results Seminar"

ISLAMABAD: Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa attended one-day “Big Fast Results Seminar” on Wednesday at P-Block Pak Secretariat in Planning and Development Ministry.

Speaking on the occasion, Malaysian Minister for Performance, Idris Jala said that Pakistan required political stability and conducive climate for investment for economic development.

While, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan could learn a lot from the Malaysian experience of performance, deliverance and monitoring in the public sector.

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KCCI, IMF delegations call on FBR Chairman

ISLAMABAD: Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa held meetings with different delegations on Tuesday. First of all he met with the delegation of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and discussed different issues relating to trade and industry.

Then Bajwa met with Chairman CDA and Vice President MCB. After that IMF delegation called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa was also present in the meeting.

FBR chief directs Lahore RTO officers to achieve target

LAHORE: Tariq Bajwa, Chairman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), has ordered the Regional Tax Office (RTO) Lahore officers to try their best to meet the budgetary target.

He issued these directives while chairing a meeting of the Chief Commissioners of RTO-I, RTO-2, Large Tax Payer Unit (LTU) and other high officers. The meeting discussed changes made in this fiscal year’s budget by the government, and how to generate revenue through these changes.

Member Inland Revenue (IR-Operations) Muhammad Ashraf, RTO-I Chief Commissioner Shafqat Mahmood, LTU Lahore Chief Mustafa Ashraf and RTO-II Chief Dr Muhammad Irshad also participated in the meeting.

FBR endeavors to curb menace of corruption on PM directives

KARACHI: Curbing the menace of corruption is on top of the agenda of the present government. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif recently issued directives to Revenue Division and Federal Board of Revenue to conduct proper screening and strict scrutiny to purge the lines of corrupt and inefficient elements in their ranks. After these firm directives, Revenue Division and FBR gave clear directions to the officers and staff working under their administrative control to perform their assigned duties professionally. FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa also stressed this point last week in a press briefing saying that there would be zero tolerance on corruption among FBR officers, adding that the Board took decision to suspend two officers of Customs in Karachi.

Similarly, Member Customs also held a number of meetings in Islamabad and Karachi with chief collectors, collectors, additional collectors, deputy collectors and assistant collectors, and called for making an effective strategy to eradicate corruption from the department and enhance efficiency of the officials.

After these recent developments, Customs Department is strictly following these directives and has started fight against corruption to unearth old frauds and prevent potential frauds in future.

According to details, Customs Intelligence detained 3 containers on 16 August (Friday) near Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT). After initial investigation, it found that the containers were cleared without examination by mis-declaration of GDs (Goods Declarations) mentioned with different items including artificial ornaments, toilet soaps, fairness creams, towels, cosmetics, hosiery products & other items and booked on the name of A to Z company and H A Karim International.

Sources revealed that a self-proclaimed clearing agent Mian Tahir played a vital role in order to clear these consignments. In the meantime, R & D Department of Customs opened 15 recovery cases from July to August against these importers having GD Nos: 7724, 7720, 7712, 7715, 7718, 9141, 9153, 9136, 9130, 9150, 9142, 9147, 9155, 9159 and 9163.

Sources in Customs House, Karachi told our correspondent that Mian Tahir had close links with Assistant Collector Aftab Ahmed and cleared around 43 GDs in just two months i.e. (July and August) by using Aftab’s WeBOC ID and password.

Unlike before, now Customs Department has started taking notice against its own ‘corrupt’ officials. When contacted Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Appraisement said that it has issued an order of “off-duty” against its own Assistant Collector Aftab Ahmed and an inquiry has been initiated against Appraisers Jam Akram and Rasheed Khan.

Member Customs Nisar Muhammad Khan seems very optimistic about the performance of FBR and Customs Department and is highly convinced that FBR is now heading towards right direction under the competent and proficient leadership of its chairman Tariq Bajwa.

Mr Nisar, while talking to Customs Today about the case of tax evasion by the importers, said that the case would be investigated as per law. Expressing his complete satisfaction, he said that now all the departments are working efficiently. Any act against the rules and regulations would not be tolerated, he added.

Commenting on the above-mentioned case of tax evasion, DG Investigation & Intelligence Riaz Khan told Customs Today that there is no room for corrupt elements. Everybody is equal before law and no one is above the law. We are working for betterment of Pakistan. Our department is also working in that direction, he added.

When contacted the spokesperson of Customs Intelligence Department confirmed that in the wake of credible information, the regional office at Karachi intercepted and seized 3×40 containers of miscellaneous items imported by H.A Karim International and A to Z company. The consignments were cleared through yellow channel without examination. Assessment Officer initially marked that multiple items were declared without proper specification, description, size, material, origin, brand, packing, quality and net weight etc,.

He said that the examination request was rejected by Assistant Collector (Assessment) Aftab Ahmed Khan and GDs were completed and assigned to gate out while the same containers were intercepted and detained by the Directorate. He also confirmed lodging of FIR against the culprit.

Director Customs Intelligence & Investigation Manzoor Hussain Memon is striving hard and taking a number of initiatives to curb the menace of corruption to reduce the tax evasion and increase the revenue for the exchequer.

When contacted to get details about the above-mentioned case, Manzoor Hussain Memon confirmed that the Customs Intelligence has written a letter to Federal Board of Revenue in order to get permission to involve the Assistant Collector in the ongoing investigation.

“The Intelligence officers are carrying out investigation into the matter without any pressure, however; phone calls of some influentials are being received,” the Director added.

Giving details about the recent operation of the Directorate of Customs Intelligence & Investigation, Additional Director Customs I&I, Mumtaz Khoso informed Customs Today that the Customs Intelligence and Investigation has detained three containers of importers Sheikh Khurram Shahzad (owner A to Z) and Azfar Javed (owner H A Karim International).

Khoso confirmed that among the detained containers, two belonged to A to Z company and third H A Karim International.

“During joint investigation, it was revealed that 33 different items were present in first container, 40 in the second container and 52 different items found in third container. However; the Goods Declarations (GDs) displayed 18 different items in first container, 16 in second and 20 in third container,” Additional Director Customs I&I disclosed.

Providing the details of complete breakup of the duty obtained and tax evaded, the Additional Director informed that on first container duty of Rs 4.63 lakh was submitted instead of Rs 34 lakh, on second container the tax levy of Rs 4.34 lakh was submitted instead of Rs 27 lakh and on third container, the duty of Rs 4.67 lakh was submitted instead of Rs 35 lakh.

He further informed that 7 other containers of these two importers are under examination by the Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) East.

On just three containers, these importers have evaded Rs 82 lakh and seven more containers are detained for investigation, if they are proved to have evaded duty on these 7 containers too then it is possible they had been evading duty on their imported goods for several years which could open doors for further investigation into the case and take Customs Department to unearth the scam.

“We have registered 2 FIRs against the accused namely Khurram Shaikh and Azfar Javed involved in the case for evading huge tax levy, adding that these importers belonged to Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” he added.

“Valuation ruling has also been violated in such cases and the Customs Intelligence is investigating the matter”, he added.

Khoso further said that the Customs Intelligence has already completed seizer procedure in the matter.

“We have two main priorities in the said case as per the directives of high-ups that is to recover the evaded tax levy and arrest the culprits involved in it”, Additional Director Customs I&I revealed.

“We have clear directives from the top brass of FBR and Customs Department to eliminate the corrupt practice”, he asserted.

He further informed that the investigation is going on smoothly and it is hoped that the procedure would be completed within 30 days.

“We have also clear directives in order to eradicate such mafia, causing huge losses to national exchequer”, he maintained.

When contacted Assistant Collector Aftab Ahmed, who is involved in the case, said that he is “off-duty” now and could not comment over the said matter.

One of the office-bearers of Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) said that Mian Tahir is not a listed clearing agent and even not enrolled with Association.

“Mian Tahir did not visit the office of KCAA ever in his career and persons like him by disguising them as clearing agents are tarnishing the image of clearing agents as well as the Association”, he added.

Amir Sheikh (owner of A to Z Hosiery) and ‘relative’ of accused Khurram Sheikh (owner of A to Z company) told Customs Today that he has nothing to do with these frauds.

When contacted, Khurram Sheikh (owner of A to Z company) and main accused in the case said that detaining of their containers seems to be a tactic to pressurize them, he added.

Customs Today team at Karachi and Islamabad chased this investigative story at length to dig into details of what steps FBR and Customs high-ups are taking to avoid hefty losses to the exchequer through frauds in lieu of the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FBR Board-in-Council approves audit plan

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Friday approved audit plan for income tax and sales tax under which thousands of taxpayers will be selected through random balloting by next week.

“FBR’s Board-in-Council has approved an audit plan for selecting 5 percent taxpayers’ through random balloting,” Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa confirmed on Friday.

Instead of parameters-based audit, FBR took decision to hold audit on the basis of random balloting. The parameters-based audit was always challenged into different courts on different grounds so the FBR took conscious decision to avoid plunging into any legal battle.

Earlier, the Board-in-Council of FBR considered audit plan for selecting thousands of cases of Income Tax and Sales Tax for audit purposes.

“The audit is meant to create deterrence,” said one member of FBR and added that it would not give jumpstart to revenue collection. “We want to complete assessments till March 2014 so that we can materialize revenues in the current fiscal year,” added the official.

FBR had been facing difficulties to enforce audit plan in an effective manner from last several years because it was challenged into different courts on the basis of certain lacunas in the plan.

FBR has been facing a difficult task for achieving highly challenging tax collection target of Rs 2,475 billion in the current fiscal year compared to a collection of Rs 1936 billion in the last financial year. FBR will have to achieve a growth of over 28 percent in the ongoing fiscal for displaying its desired target.

FBR has already started sending notices to potential non-filers in a bid to broaden narrowed tax base. The government has made commitment with the IMF that the tax-to-GDP ratio will be increased by 5 percent in next five year tenure of PML (N) government.

“The bank access will be used carefully to broaden tax base,” said the official and added that the land transaction record of big giants was in the process of collection from all available avenues to find out new taxpayers.

FBR has planned to send 100,000 notices in the current fiscal year and so far these notices have been sent to around 30,000 people all over the country.

FBR had so far collected Rs 290.5 billion in first two months and few days of September 2013, registering a growth of just 17 percent compared to the same period of the last financial year.

This challenging task will become harder in the second and third quarter of the current financial year as FBR had performed well during the same period last year.

“In order to ensure effectiveness of the audit plan, FBR also decided to exclude certain areas from audit exercise such as salaried class, all those sectors where final tax liability is charged as audit of these sectors would not impact revenue side positively. So we decided to drop these sectors consciously in order to avoid wastage of time,” said the sources.

To track down progress on issued audit notices, FBR has already placed Tax Audit Management System (TAMS), enabling tax authorities to avoid misuse of any audit notice.

Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) Probationary officers visit FBR House

FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa in a group photo with Member FATE Ms. Riffat Shaheen, Member IR Policy Mr Shahid Hussain Asad, Member IR Operations Muhammad Ashraf Khan, Member Legal Safdar Hussain, Member Taxpayers Audit Haroon Muhammad Khan Tareen, Member Enforcement and WHT Aftab Anwar Baloch, Member Admin Shahid Hussain Jatoi and Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) Probationary officers

Govt to bring 500,000 taxpayers into net: Bajwa

ISLAMABAD: Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa said that the government would bring 500,000 new taxpayers into the net in order to broaden narrowed tax base over the next five years.

Talking to reporters at FBR’s headquarters, he said that FBR identified some major areas to identify potential taxpayers as they would bring 100,000 non-filers into the net during the current fiscal year.

He said that FBR was also working on placing uniform evaluation system of different products of imports which would help implementing same policy at clearing points in the same manner as there were complaints that in case of placing effective mechanism at one entry point the importers were used to clear their imports from any other point.

When asked about FBR’s powers for having access to bank accounts, the Chairman FBR said that there was no unusual activity reported by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) as he talked to him in start of August.

“FBR has not so far accessed any bank account as it will only be used to unearth black money and in case of those who are non-filers,” he added.

He said that the provision of access to bank accounts would not be utilized for existing taxpayers. FBR, he said, will devise proper rules related to access to bank accounts and only 14 to 15 tax officials including FBR Chairman and FBR Members will have permission to use this facility for identifying non-taxpayers.

In order to achieve challenging target of Rs 2475 billion in 2013-14, the Chairman FBR said that they started sending notices to rich non-filers who possessed assets in terms of holding precious lands in major urban centres & luxury vehicles, and those who are frequent international travelers and spending huge money on utility bills.

“FBR has decided to utilize data of consumption and investment by focusing on getting information from relevant authorities regarding biggest transactions of urban lands, luxury vehicles, international travels and users of utility bills to broaden tax base,” he added.

All those who made transaction of 500 square yards at the price of Rs 50 million will be brought into tax net, he added.

Mr. Bajwa said that it would be a challenge to fetch additional revenues of Rs 535 billion in order to display the desired target set for the current fiscal year which would require a growth of 28 percent.

The Chairman FBR said that there was less than 0.5 percent population discharging its national obligation as compared to developed countries.

To a query regarding tax amnesty scheme, the Chairman FBR said that he was not in favour of any tax amnesty scheme.

There would be zero tolerance on corruption among the FBR officers and Customs officers would also be suspended if found involved in any kind of corruption.

On the issue of sales tax refunds, he said that FBR established a queue and repayments of refunds would be paid on first-come, first-served basis.

He said that the Income Support Levy of 0.5 percent would be utilized for safety net programmes such as Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). In order to discharge responsibility of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), he said that affluent people should voluntarily come forward to discharge their duty towards poor segment of the society.