KARACHI: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) decided 70 per cent cases in favour of taxpayers last year (2015), providing relief in the form of refunds worth a cumulative Rs735 million to aggrieved taxpayers.
The ombudsman’s office received 1,509 fresh complaints in 2015 while 381 were carried over from 2014. It decided 1,610 complaints. Besides, five of the decided cases were FTO’s ‘own motion’ cases, according to its annual report for 2015.
Of the 1,610 decided cases, 1,127 (70%) were decided in favour of taxpayers in 2015, compared to 72 per cent in 2014. The number of complaints rejected in 2015 remained low at 330 or 20.5 per cent of total complaints received. The number of complains rejected in 2014 were 305 or 19.7 per cent.
Similarly, 153 complaints were withdrawn as compared to 135 in 2014. In 1,375 cases (85.4pc), the FTO’s recommendations were promptly accepted by both the taxpayers and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Its recommendations in 235 cases were challenged through review or representation mechanism.
The report admitted that the average time taken for the disposal of a complaint increased to 63 working days as compared to 53 days in 2014 and 54 days in 2013.
On the plus side, there was marked improvement in implementation of FTO’s recommendations which stood at 1,412 cases in 2015, compared to 1,374 cases implemented in 2014.
However, an even larger number of the FTO’s recommendations remained pending for implementation with the FBR at the end of 2015. These do not include cases where a representation or a review petition had been filed by the FBR or taxpayers.