Pakistan News

ITMS slow processing irks taxpayers

ITMS slow processing irks taxpayers

MULTAN: A number of taxpayers are facing hardships to file their income and sales tax returns for 2014-15 owing to ‘flaws’ in the Integrated Tax Management System (ITMS) and its slow processing.

The ITMS software was developed to streamline the sales and income tax issues by the Pakistan Revenue Automation System (PRAL).

Taxpayers are complaining that on one hand the government has increased withholding tax on all banking transactions exceeding Rs50,000 while on the other they are finding it hard to file returns due to slow processing.

They say the government has reduced the tax on banking transactions from 0.6 per cent to 0.3pc after the negotiations were held between the government and traders’ representatives.

It was also decided that the reduction would be applicable till Sept 30 and traders would file their tax returns by that date. After Sept 30, non-filers would pay 0.6pc tax against the 0.3pc rate for filers.

A tax lawyer says many people want to file their returns to avoid paying 0.6pc withholding tax on banking transactions but due to flaws in the ITMS and shortage of staff after the removal of PRAL employees, they are facing difficulties.

“Passwords have been issued to each taxpayer who can do various tasks relating to the taxes while they also can file their income and sales tax returns through the ITMS,” he says.

The processing of the network is slow and many people are complaining that the system is not completing the procedure of filing income and sales tax.

A source at FBR office says the staff of Regional Tax Office is also facing the same problems.

It merits mentioning that the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has also termed the FBR’s ITMS an ineffective system after conducting a study from April 2012 to June 2012.

According to the AGP, the system has failed to perform electronic functions.

A source says withdrawal of the PRAL employees from the system and other affairs of the FBR has also affected the functioning of the tax office.

“The employees that had been sacked were of the ranks of general managers, senior managers operation, manager call centre, supervisors, call centre operators, facilitation officers posted in the National Bank of Pakistan and SBP.

“The FBR has deployed its regular staff at these places after holding their training sessions.

“Now hardly four to five people are working instead of about 30 employees of the PRAL at regional tax office,” says the source.

He says the FBR does not have enough strength to run the system while the deployed staff lacks expertise.

A taxpayer says he has time and again visited the office of Commissioner Regional Tax Office but no one has any solution to issues.

When contacted Regional Tax Commissioner Hafiz Jamil Awaisi refused to comment.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2015

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