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Tax defaulters and Ombudsman

June 10, 2013

JUST before the start of the election process, there was a lot of discussion in talk shows that the tax ombudsman was to see the chief election commissioner to apprise him of the number of tax evaders so that he could stop them from running for elections.

Will the same anchors and their guests, now that the elections are over, apprise their audience the second part of the debate now, namely how much the tax ombudsman was successful in his effort and how many tax-evaders due to his sincere efforts found the doors of contestation slapped on their faces.

During the last 20 years the best ‘read’ is reading beautifully fine-bound glossy annual reports of our all ombudsmen. Reading these one will find himself lucky living in Adl-i-Jahangiri.

For the last 20 years our ruling politicians have always dreamt the nation of making Pakistan a Singapore but reading of these annual reports one would surely find himself living in Lahore/Karachi of Singapore.

The concept of an ombudsman is to diagnose and then put the derailed system back on track.

The thorn of tax defaulter grew when the first very area tax official did not perform his duty truly, honestly and did not book the tax defaulter living in his area.

Not merely as a layman, but also as a taxpayer, I had during these four years been rightly dreaming that our rightly and duly praised tax ombudsman would concentrate on the right question and would make severely and visibly accountable the tax machinery which did not ‘issue’ due tax demand notices to defaulters, which was their duty. At least not a single news report have I ever found telling me that the tax ombudsman has axed so many highups of tax machinery for not issuing proper tax demand notices to the rich/ elite of their area and never told the nation why these area tax officials remained criminally silent all along.

Tax defaulters are not those who do not declare and then pay tax accordingly, rather tax defaulters are those whom due legitimate tax demand is issued but they fail to pay. Those whose names we so often read in print or hear in talk shows as tax defaulters are, technically, not tax defaulters, rather they can be termed offenders who did not declare their correct income and to whom the tax official due to some ‘interest’ does not issue demand notice for due tax.