LAHORE: The Ready Made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Pakistan (Prgmea) has expressed disappointment with the performance of the Federal Board of Revenue’s new IRIS portal – the platform for filing tax returns on sales – and called for the cancellation of the old fully automated system. Sales Tax E-Refund (FASTER) for transparent and fast payment of exporter refunds.
Prgmea regional chairman Sheikh Luqman Amin in a statement here on Wednesday said the FBR has launched another updated portal, claiming to pay sales tax refunds through the newly installed system to exporters within hours. following the submission of complaints. However, exporters face many difficulties in filing their sales tax returns in order to obtain a refund. He said the IRIS system was not working because the system’s “Annex H” had many flaws.
He expressed concern that the government may not be able to release sales tax refund claims on a regular basis in the new fiscal year as the amount of cash for exporters has started to be blocked by the government due to a faulty and faulty system.
“It is unfortunate that once the export-oriented industry has become accustomed to one software for its refunds, the FBR introduces a new one without any consultation with genuine stakeholders, he said and added that the old FASTER system worked well and the industry was happy but the FBR has now launched the IRIS, apparently intended for further improvement, but in reality its purpose is to block sales tax refunds from exporters in one way or another.
The IRIS system is flawed in many ways, but unfortunately it was launched. According to normal IT procedure, whenever software is launched, it must go through proper testing, he said.
“It is obvious that this software was not tested properly and launched to please the highest authorities in government. For example, “appendix H” which deals with the inventory does not function correctly, which leads to the rejection of all requests”.
Sheikh Luqman said exporters were in serious pain as sales tax refund applications for December 2021, January 2022 and February 2022 were not accepted, resulting in three months of refunds being blocked from the exporting industry, which are already facing severe financial crisis due to rising cost of doing business in the country.
“We strongly demand the continuation of the old FASTER system for timely sales tax refunds from exporters, asking the FBR to first test the IRIS system before its official launch,” he added.
Regional head of Prgmea has urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to direct the tax agency to remove bottlenecks in the new RBF refund payment system as exporters face severe cash shortages due to delay in paying sales tax refunds. He also asked for a mechanism to uncover reasons for not accepting sales tax returns from exporters under the IRIS system. The automated refund system should state the reason it is not accepting returns when their paperwork is complete, he said.
According to him, the current situation has created unrest among the members exporters. He said that the timely payment of claims is still a major problem and must be solved on priority.
He said that increasing the country’s exports is a very important goal in terms of improving the country’s economy. He observed that the government should make it a top priority to facilitate exporters in every possible way.
He said that exporters are unable to source and purchase raw materials and other paraphernalia to fill their future export orders and this will ultimately collapse the entire export trade , he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022