Law ministry questions revenue board’s SRO authority

November 29, 2014

The law ministry has raised questions over the National Board of Revenue’s authority to issue statutory regulatory order on behalf of the government, NBR officials said.
They told New Age recently that the revenue board could not issue over 10 SROs as the ministry either sent back or kept hold the draft of the SROs saying that it (NBR) should send the drafts to the ministry for vetting through Internal Resource Division of the finance ministry.
The IRD is the reporting authority of the NBR while as per rules of business the IRD secretary becomes NBR chairman.
Some important SRO drafts of income tax, value-added tax and customs duty wings of the revenue board including imposition of 1 per cent surcharge on mobile talk-time and other services, restructuring of the CC-slabs for taxi cab, giving income tax and VAT exemption to some government and non-government bodies are now remained stuck because of the move of the ministry, they said.
According to law ministry officials, the revenue board cannot issue SRO imposing any tax or bringing changes in laws related to income tax, VAT and customs duty as these laws did not entitle it to do so.
The laws state that the government can impose taxes or bring changes in laws meaning that the revenue board should do the job through the IRD, they informed the NBR.
The SROs have remained pending as the revenue board could not follow the due process, they said.
The NBR needs to take legal vetting from the law ministry for issuance of any SRO, said the officials.
The NBR officials said they sent the draft of SRO to law ministry after finance minister’s approval on a summery on the proposed SRO while IRD secretary, as chairman of the NBR, signed the summery.
So, there should be no problem in the process, they said, adding that traditionally, SROs were being issued following this procedure.
It will take longer time to issue any SRO if the revenue board is to go through the IRD as the division will also have to follow some procedure, the officials said.
‘The revenue board is looking for an amicable solution to the issue as it is hampering the regular activities of tax administration,’ a high official of the NBR said.
Officials of the three wings of the NBR will talk to the officials concerned of the law ministry in this regard, he said.

-Input from New Age

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