ISLAMABAD: Civil service officers at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have rejected a government proposal to make the revenue collection body an autonomous entity, The News reported on Monday.
The English daily, after examining official documents and conducting background interviews, has revealed that the officers of the FBR want to retain the status of the revenue collection body as a department of the federal government.
The FBR officers have proposed that the re-structured tax authority, after the inclusion of provincial tax boards, should be called Pakistan Revenue Board instead of Pakistan Revenue Authority.
The cabinet, meanwhile, has already approved the recommendations of the Institutional Reform Cell regarding the entities that might be made autonomous bodies, and FBR is on the list.
A proposed restructuring plan of the FBR outlines the establishment of Pakistan Revenue Authority as an autonomous body.
The terms of reference for the input provides a trio of options for the restructuring: keeping FBR under the federal government, giving it semi- autonomous body status, or declaring it an autonomous body.
The Islamabad Committee feels that the FBR should retain the status as an attached department of the federal government and should continue to operate in the ambit of Civil Services.
It is pertinent to mention here that tax collection is a state job globally, and cannot be delegated to autonomous bodies.
The FBR must be differentiated from the State Bank of Pakistan, which is a regulatory authority. It should also be distinguished from the SECP and other such autonomous entities, contends the report in The News.
As the levy and collection of taxes is hardly possible without the authority of the federal government, the reduction of tax administration to a revenue authority will ultimately lead to diminishing taxpayers.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the status of future tax administration be maintained as an attached department and career progression of the IRS cadre officers should not be compromised, reports The News.