Agha Shahab rejects more powers for taxmen in budget

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By Abdul Rafay Siddiqi

KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan has expressed serious concern on reports that the Income Tax officials are seeking more powers to probe and reopen cases of taxpayers for as long as past 10 years.

In their proposals for budget 2020-21, the officials of tax department have recommended that they may be authorized to issue assessment orders for up to 10 years instead of 5 years Under Section 121 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

President KCCI pointed out that KCCI has contested for years to curtail discretionary powers of tax officials, which are a source of harassment to the taxpayers and have prevented a majority of business persons to register in the tax regime. Such powers are a deterrent to broadening of tax base which remains around 1 percent despite all kinds of coercive tactics.

He said that contrary to stated goal of reforms in FBR and Taxation regime, the government is being misled into taking measures in the Budget 2020-21 which will further discourage documentation and result in misuse of discretionary powers.

In a letter addressed to Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to PM on Finance and Revenue, Agha Shahab urged the Ministry of Finance to avoid taking any measures that will be counter-productive to an already sluggish economy and negative GDP growth.

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