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Federal Tax Ombudsman rectifies sick unit owner's tax assessment

ISLAMABAD (December 10 2002) : Thanks to the intervention of Federal Tax Ombudsman, the owner of a sick plastic manufacturing unit has been able to get his tax assessments rectified for several years dating back to the 1990s.

The trouble started when the assessing officer failed to comply with the order of the income tax appellate tribunal authority that while making assessment for year 1990-91 the assessing officer had wrongly made addition of over Rs two million in trading account. Earlier the Commissioner of Income Tax too had found the assessing officer to be wrong. Surprisingly, the tax officer did not follow the ruling of the superiors.

This lapse continued to taint the assessments for the subsequent years till 1999-2000 when the office of Federal Tax Ombudsman was set up and cases of highhandedness and indiscretions were heard by the Ombudsman.

For this lapse, the FTO, Justice Saleem Akhtar, took him to task asking for disciplinary action against him.

The order noted that the assessing officer failed to delete the addition of Rs two million in the trading account and that an amount of Rs 2.6 million was added to the financial expenses. Though the Commissioner of Income Tax in appeal had directed that these expenses should be verified from the bank account.

The order noted that the assessing officer did not make any effort to get the financial expenses verified from the bank .On the contrary, the assessing officer wrote letter to the assessee to furnish details of the financial expenses for verification.

The FTO noted that this was not in line with the directions of the ITAT and CIT appeal and observed: “Disregarding and disobeying the orders of the appellate authorities amount to indiscipline and insubordination. This aspect is clear from the conduct of the assessing officer. In these circumstances maladministration has been established.

It is shocking to note that the assessing officer failed to carry out the orders and directions of the superior officers. This amounts not only to dereliction of duties but also is an act of insubordination, which should be taken due notice by the supervisory staff officers.

The complainant has suffered harassment and hardship due to ineptitude, inefficiency and incompetence of the assessing officer who failed to carry out his duties under law. For this reason appropriate departmental action should be initiated against the officer and the FTO secretariat informed within 45 days.

The FTO also ordered that rectification orders for the assessment years 1991-92 till 1999-2000 be issued.

The officer representing the department informed the FTO Secretariat that rectification orders for these years were passed on August 8, 2002 and sent to the complainant. The rectified orders have taken care of the previous lapses and all grievances have been redressed.

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