Monday, October 12, 2015

My Tax Return Story (Iseem Mumtaz)

It appears that we Pakistanis live in our homeland with just one aim of undergoing one agony after another meted out to us by our corrupt government and coercive system. I have been filer of income tax return for many years. However, my name comes in and goes out of the active tax payers list every now and then with no reason intimated to me. Initially my name went out of active tax payers list in March 2015 resulting in imposition of non-filer rates on me by my banks. As I ran from nook to corner, I came to know that I had filed my tax ‘physically’ and since it was required to be filed ‘electronically’, my name had been omitted from the active tax payers list. The needful was done and my name finally reappeared in the list.

As I was finalizing the deal of a plot sale in August, 2015, a crude shock came my way that my name was not there in the tax filers list again resulting in incidence of extra income tax on sale proceeds. This time, after running from pillar to post, I came to know that I had attached bank tax deduction certificate which had to be sent ‘electronically’ in order to enable my name to appear in the tax payers list. Finally, it was done and the FBR took many weeks to update my name into its list.

My income tax return for 2015 was filed on 1st October, 2015. As I went to get a new car booked on 9th October, I was again informed that my name was not there in the tax payers list and I was required to pay extra tax for being ‘non-filer’.

Incidentally, FBR never bothered to phone or email me on any of the above instances while removing my name from active tax payers list. I sent many emails to FBR official address, Ishaq Dar’s senate address for redressing my grievances but everything fell on deaf ears.


Adnan replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 11:25 AM PST

Dear Aseem, I am not surprised to see what you are going through, however, we must also realize that this online tax filing system is a new thing for us and for the departments, yes I agree that this has been a bit of a problem for you but based on your experience, wouldn't it be prudent if you checked your tax status online every now and then specially before transacting large amounts of money just to make sure there are no discrepancies.

On the suggestion that you have given in the end of your complaint, I am an expatriate for many years and cannot wait to come back home. For my fellow brothers and sisters living in the homeland, I can confirm that for all the money that people like me earn to keep in banks, I will never be able to replace what I have already missed out on for staying away from my loved ones for so many years.

I am and will continue to invest in the homeland because I will come back home one day. For all the good systems and what not, these foreign countries can never be our home, and despite all the ills and misgivings of our society, Pakistan will still be our home.

So, please do not dispel the whole country for some tax frustrations, I am sure with time you would learn to adapt and the system will mature enough to correct for itself.

Baba G replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 02:28 PM PST

Great words from Adnan. A reality check.

MS replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 04:35 PM PST


Well said Mr. Adnan
100% agreed with you " InShaaaAllah" Long live Pakistan.

Abu Dhabi.

Tanweer replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 07:34 PM PST

Dear Aseem,

Income Tax returns are to be filed on-line. This practice has been in place for several years. My understanding is that the FBR web-site updates its data every month. So please do keep in mind that we keep a gap of atleast 20-30 days before making any transaction. Also, as suggested by Adnan, it is wiser to check from FBR's web-site before making a transaction. Cheers.

Ahmet replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 07:37 PM PST

@ Adnan,

He is identifying flaws in the system which is very important to ensure such nuisances are fixed. It is extremely frustrating for an honest and rule-abiding citizen to do business in Pakistan. Please label us dispel-er just because we are identifying some sad facts about the country.

XYZ replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 07:39 PM PST

Aseem I m sorry to hear about what happened to you but let me tell u one thing FBR is working in its utmost capacity to collect taxes and facilitate the masses and I m saying this as I m an employee of FBR at a good post. Rather than mailing FBR or any of the dignities you mentioned it is always better to visit the RTO and meet the concerned officer. The CC at RTO personally meet people to solve their problems.

Dr. Khan replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 07:40 PM PST

Well, let me add similar experience. In July, I visited FBR myself and requested to update my records as non-resident Pakistani. They asked for several documents which I provided but nothing happened. In September, I personally visited FBR again with all documents once again just to update the records, however, they said that the system is not allowing and I should come again. I told them that it was my second visit from abroad, but that too in vain. I have given up and stopped from further purchase transactions.

Expat Observer replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 08:04 PM PST

During my recent visit to Pakistan, which ended last week, I found some interesting facts:

- I tried to open bank account and was advised by Bank Manager NOT to open account here in Rs currency. He told me being expat, you are exempted from tax return filing but I will deduct 0.6% tax on your each transaction being non-filer. WTH? He suggested me either to have account in overseas or if I want, open FC account. BTW, he is my friend also.

- Went to file my return in Lhr FBR office. From one office to other, one floor to other floor and NO ONE in office willing to accept my return coz I'm expat and they dont have any idea where expats will submit.

- FBR is heavily mis-managed institute. Work style of ppl there looks to create trouble rather than facilitation. Dont know why?

- When tried to find something online, found that LHR region FBR office expenses are more than what tax money they have collected last year. Interesting - Isn't it?

WHAT IMPRESSION I Got - FBR (Govt) trying to get money with every possible mean from general public, push them away from windows where ppl can get benefit, make procedure complicated so ppl can't understand them, make process hectic so ppl avoid it and bow down to powerful elite so they can share the tax-evasion money.

Ahmer replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 08:11 PM PST

Sorry Aseem that you are suffering.
But bravo Adnan, you have put our thoughts in black and white.
Much respect.

Ahmad replied on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 08:13 PM PST

I am trying to register my wife in fbr for return and i am supposed to get some code via email and sms but every time i try i receive it after 2-3 hours and by that time it is expired.....seems like fbr themselves dont want people to get registered

MUZZAMIL replied on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 09:05 AM PST

i entered my tax returns Electronically in August but still havent been added to ATL, can any1 tell me what to do now?
dont have time to visit RTO and if visiting RTO is a Must , whats the purpose of online Filing?
(Courtesy: Lahore Real Estate)

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