Unclogging tax appellate system – Dr Ikramul Haq

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On October 12, 2020, the Chairman of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), while testifying before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), revealed that more than “Rs.1.856 trillion revenue has been stuck for years due to litigation in various courts, resulting in difficult financial conditions for the country”. The fault, however, does not entirely lie with the tax tribunals and courts. This fact was also admitted by Chairman FBR: “The appellant tribunals have been non-functional for two years”. In other words, he confirmed inaction on the part of coalition Government of Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). He did not disclose why the Law Ministry is not filling vacancies in tax tribunals and how many frivolous appeals/references were filed by FBR for which strictures were passed by higher courts in a number of cases. He also failed to disclose the success rate of FBR in tax tribunals, five high courts and Supreme Court.