‘Taxmen as corrupt as society’

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CHAIRMAN Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Dr Muhammad Irshad, in a statement before National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Thursday, pointed out that ‘taxmen are as corrupt as society’. According to media reports, the Chairman was bombarded with a number of questions over corruption in his department.
There can be no denying the fact that corruption prevails in the tax department but it would be unfair to take the issue of corruption in FBR in isolation of what is happening elsewhere. In fact, a number of measures have been introduced by the FBR aimed at elimination of corruption and bringing transparency in its working. Computerisation of its operations and e-filing were the steps aimed at removing physical contact between taxpayer and taxmen and thereby reducing chances of corruption. FBR is being criticised by members of business community of corruption on the issue of refunds whereas the fact remains that refund is widely misused by unscrupulous elements within the business community itself. We have been pleading that there should be no duties and no refund and hence no corruption but regrettably some vested interests hinder its introduction. We must give credit to FBR for increasing tax collection by over sixty percent during the last over three years despite daunting challenges. And it is for Parliament to discuss ways and means to eliminate corruption not just in FBR but also in other departments and recommend practical measures to government in this regard. Mere criticism to get favours is an unfortunate tendency.

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