KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo has slammed the Section 203A of the budget 2021-22 which gives powers to arrest and prosecute any person for concealment of income to assistant commissioners of Inland Revenue Service merely on the basis of an accusation or doubt. 

He said in a statement issued on Tuesday that the income tax is a civil liability and could not be treated as a criminal liability; and this has always remained a civil matter historically.

The Section 203A opens doors to harassment of business, industry and trade community, he added.

The FPCCI president said that Section 203A will add to the already existing harassment of businessmen by tax officials through issuance of several thousand notices of which Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has taken notice and his timely intervention has resulted in withdrawal of a big number of notices issued to the businessmen.

Mian Nasser said that businessmen must be respected for generating taxes and employment for the country. The business should be conducted in harmony instead of conflicts and contradictions created by the tax officials by giving them discretionary powers, he continued.

He said that the Section 192A (Prosecution for Concealment of Income) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, already covers the subject sufficiently. There is no need of Section 203A and the FPCCI demands it should be omitted and taken off the table in the final budget documents.

FPCCI is looking forward to resolve this issue immediately, Mian Nasser concluded.

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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