Business community strongly protests against issuance of audit notices covering last five years

  • March 26, 2009
Traders and industrialists in a meeting chaired by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry strongly reacted against the issuance of income tax and sales tax audit notices by Federal Bureau of Pakistan (FBR) demanding audit of the last five years period. They said FBR had made it clear that only 20 percent cases for audit will be selected randomly, but audit notices were being issued to a large number of traders and industrialists in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which was totally unjustified. This situation had created lot of harassment and resentment in business community and they were of the opinion that government should take steps for broadening the tax net instead of milking the same cow.

Mian Shaukat Masud said these were very tough times for trade and industry as they were already struggling for their survival due to many factors like high interest rates, power crisis, high rates of electricity and gas, increased production cost, dwindling demand in international markets for exports and law and order problems etc. He said these times calling for supporting measures from the government so that trade and industry could be able to sail smoothly out of troubled waters. But instead of facilitating them, steps were being taken to add to their problems. He said businessmen were playing a key role in providing strong cushion to the economy by promoting economic activities and exports and they deserved fair treatment for their valuable services.  

ICCI President said in the prevailing circumstances of global recession and economic meltdown, the best option to strengthen the economy was to further facilitate the growth of trade and industry and not to harass them. He said if trade and industry would grow, it would create multiple benefits for economy apart from providing more revenue to the government through taxes and exports. He said it was a wrong impression that businessmen were not paying tax. Correcting the record, he said out of total income tax collection of Rs.395 billion during 2007-08, the percentage of withholding taxes and voluntary payment was 91 percent while contribution of field officers (collection on demand through investigation or audit) was just nine percent of total collection which proved beyond any doubt that businessmen were not tax evaders. He called upon the FBR to immediately withdraw audit notices otherwise; business community would be compelled to consider taking some strong line of action to protect their interests.