Understanding the tax audit process is crucial for any business operating in Pakistan. This guide simplifies the key steps and procedures involved, empowering you to navigate the system with confidence.
- The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) uses computer-based criteria to select tax returns for audit, separately for income tax, sales tax, and excise duty.
- Examination: Tax authorities scrutinize your tax return and may request additional documents or information.
- Show-cause Notice: If discrepancies are found, you will receive a notice explaining the issues and requesting clarification.
- Assessment: Based on your response, the income/loss for the year is assessed.
- Appeal: If you disagree with the assessment, you have the right to appeal to designated forums.
- Agreed Assessment: You can submit a settlement offer through the “assessment oversight committee” to resolve the case without appeal. This option is unavailable for cases involving fraud or complex legal issues.
Additional Powers of the Taxation Authorities:
- Benchmarks and Ratios: In audit cases where information is withheld, the authorities can use generic industry benchmarks and ratios to determine taxable income.
- Access to Records: Tax officials have access to your premises, documents, and even real-time electronic records if necessary for audit purposes.
- Remote Audits: Electronic audits through video links or other platforms are permitted.
- Be prepared for potential audits by maintaining accurate records and documentation.
- Respond promptly to any show-cause notices or requests for information.
- Understand your appeal rights if you disagree with the assessment.
- Consider the “agreed assessment” option for faster resolution, if applicable.
- Cooperate with the authorities and provide transparent access to records.
By navigating these steps and procedures efficiently, you can ensure a smooth and transparent tax audit experience in Pakistan. Remember, consulting with a tax professional is always recommended for personalized guidance and assistance throughout the process.