LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to provide a widow with complete details of tax affairs of her late father so she could find a share of her inheritance.

Sadia Ishfaq, whose father died recently, applied to the FBR for securing her deceased father’s income tax returns in order to get to know about her father’s property details.

However, the FBR rejected her application stating that without getting a civil court decree she cannot get access to her late father’s income tax returns.

The woman challenged the decision of the FBR commissioner before the LHC where Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza heard her petition.

FBR’s lawyer Syed Zainul Abedin opposed the petition relying upon section 216 of the Income Tax Ordinance. He said the information required by the woman cannot be provided to her without a decree from a civil court.

However, Assistant Attorney General Sheraz Zaka supported the case of the petitioner by stating that it would be burdensome and onerous for citizens to apply to get a civil court decree before getting access to income tax returns of their ancestors.

He said it was a matter of public importance that after the death of a person his or her legal heirs would have to go through the cumbersome process of seeking declaration from court only to get tax details of their parents.

Justice Mirza also observed that there was no need to apply for a civil court decree as it was the petitioner’s fundamental right to get access to her late father’s income tax returns by virtue of being legal heir.

The judge noted that the petitioner cannot simply file a suit without mentioning the properties to which she was entitled on account of inheritance.

The judge set aside the impugned order of the FBR and directed it to provide the petitioner all the necessary tax information of her late father.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2024

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