ISLAMABAD, Dec 19: Federal Board of Revenue chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem informed the Senate standing committee on finance on Wednesday a fact-finding committee had been constituted to investigate the leakage of information about tax returns of parliamentarians.
The FBR constituted the committee on Dec 18 after parliamentarians demanded that the issue be investigated, while the senators referred the matter to the finance committee on Dec 13, one day after a report titled ‘Representation without Taxation’ was released.
“We will submit a report within 15 days to the committee about leakages of information,” the FBR chairman assured the angry senators, who categorically blamed the tax department for leaking the information.
Earlier, the FBR top-brass tried to shift the responsibility to the Election Commission of Pakistan, but almost all senators in the meeting, including Ishaq Dar of the PML-N, Kamil Ali Agha of the PML-Q and Tahir Mashhadi of the MQM, unanimously blamed FBR officials for leaking the information.
A written statement provided to the senators said that all particulars contained in a return of income or annexed documents furnished by a taxpayer to the FBR were confidential and no public servant could disclose any such particulars under sub-section (1) of Section 216 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.
It further says any person who discloses any particulars in contravention of Section 216 is guilty of an offence under Section 198 punishable with a fine or and imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.