CBR to establish 'research department'

ISLAMABAD (August 15 2004): The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has decided to set up an independent research department to assist the tax authorities in approving all tax related proposals for increasing efficiency of the tax machinery.

This independent research department would ensure co-ordination among different departments working under CBR. If customs authorities take a decision, it should be in conformity with the sales tax law.

Recently, the CBR has taken some decisions which are in direct conflict with the working of other departments which forced the tax authorities to set up a decision making body for smooth functioning of the Board.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Saturday that diagonally opposite initiatives had been taken by the department from time to time.

For example, the CBR floated the idea of combined audits of customs, sales tax and income tax, whereas the Controller of Valuation issued directions for carrying out distinct audits within customs which is clearly in conflict with the concept of combined audit.

Similarly, the CBR is making efforts to create a unified, integrated computerised system for Customs, Sales Tax, Central Excise and Income Tax, while on ground separate and disjointed efforts at computerisation continue unabated by the concerned departments.

It has been proposed that a central think-tank should be created to assist the Chairman in vetting various proposals, schemes and initiative that are proposed through various offices. This think-tank may act as an independent research cell of restudying various proposals and options, suggesting suitable action.

When this scribe contacted tax officials for comments on the issue, they said that most of the staff is busy in file work whereas the actual assignment for devising future strategy require 4-5 experienced officials to act as a co-ordinator among CBR departments in finalising tax proposals.

Thus, the creation of think-tank would enable the CBR finalise tax related proposals in consultation with all the its wings, officials added.

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