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FBR Chief Stops Freezing Of Bank Accounts Without His Approval

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The Federal Board of Revenue stopped its field formations from freezing bank accounts without prior approval of the chief Shabbar Zaidi. This was done to minimize harassment of taxpayers, especially at a time when there was tax revenue shortfall.

According to an FBR notification, it was said that the account holder should be notified 24-hour hours prior to freezing their account after the chief’s approval.

“No bank account attachment unless the taxpayer’s CEO/principal officer/owner is informed at least 24 hours prior to the attachment and the FBR chairman’s approval is obtained,” read a notification that was sent to 23 field formations of the FBR.

Zaidi said his first priority was to give respect to the existing taxpayers and freezing their bank accounts without valid reasons was tantamount to disrespecting them, reported the Express Tribune.

The FBR has suffered a revenue shortfall of Rs345 billion in the first 10 months of FY19 and has already taken advances from major companies. The field formations have long been abusing the laws to meet their monthly revenue collections.

“The tax demand can only be collected once the first independent judicial forum, that is a tribunal, passes an order against the taxpayer,” Supreme Court Advocate Dr. Ikramul Haq said, commending Shabbar’s decision. Haq said that he had long been advocating that there needs to be transparency and fairness in the way the FBR functions.

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