Karachi, Pakistan – In a recent development, taxpayers across Pakistan are facing a myriad of new obstacles while attempting to file their annual income tax returns for the tax year 2023. The Karachi Tax Bar Association (KTBA) has taken a proactive stance by addressing these issues in a second letter to the Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). This letter builds upon their initial communication sent on September 1, 2023.
In this latest correspondence, KTBA has drawn the FBR’s attention to critical glitches recently discovered within the new IRIS 2.0 system. These issues are compounding the challenges experienced by taxpayers, and they are outlined as follows:
Attachment Tab for Withholding Data: The first issue concerns the Attachment Tab for withholding data within the Statement under Section 165 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, in Excel format within the new IRIS 2.0 system. Despite the accuracy of the figures provided, the system consistently displays a “loading” status for an extended period. This impediment prevents taxpayers from accurately and promptly submitting their declarations, eroding confidence in the software’s operational efficiency, which taxpayers expect to be reliable and seamless.
Printing Error on IRIS 2.0: A recent printing error has surfaced, wherein users encounter an error when attempting to print the draft return prepared on the IRIS 2.0 system by clicking the “Print” button. This unexpected error compounds the existing challenges faced by taxpayers. While seemingly minor, it is noteworthy that even state-run software can experience such unexpected issues, which are usually associated with lower-priced commercial software.
These issues, coupled with numerous other challenges, have caused distress and frustration among taxpayers. Additionally, there are separate concerns related to Section 7E (1% on Local Property), encompassing issues related to filing and declaring 7E forms, market values, property costs, and an alleged illegal amendment in IRIS 2.0 mandating the compulsory filing of wealth data in the absence of the 7E form.
In light of these challenges, KTBA has proposed a joint meeting involving not only the Member Policy, Operations, and IT but, more importantly, the core Technical Team of PRAL. This approach aims to bring together both the legal and technical aspects of the FBR to collectively address the issues and challenges raised by taxpayers and tax professionals.
These developments underscore the importance of streamlining tax return filing processes and enhancing the reliability of tax-related software to ensure a smoother and more efficient tax compliance experience for individuals and businesses in Pakistan. Stakeholders will be closely monitoring the FBR’s response to these concerns and its actions to rectify the identified issues.