By Waleed Bin Imran
LAHORE: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has frozen the bank accounts of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) over nonpayment of taxes worth Rs164 million to FBR.
FBR claims that LDA has not paid income tax since 2015 and was also fined in the year 2016, 17 and 18. The LDA accounts in National Bank LDA Plaza Johar Town have been frozen after nonpayment by the authority in three years. FBR has also recovered Rs 40 million from LDA accounts.
According to the sources privy to LDA, the FBR will now recover the due amount from the frozen accounts within a day or two.
Deputy Director Finance LDA Syed Habban while giving his version to Daily The Business said FBR claims that the income of LDA is taxable whereas LDA works under the Government of Punjab and it is also mentioned in the LDA Act that LDA is an agency of the Government.
‘LDA is not a profit oriented organization. We have taken stay orders from Lahore High Court (LHC) and we have appealed to commissioner several times to hold on until the LHC declares its final judgment whether the income of LDA is even taxable or not. FBR has been given surplus authority and they are targeting LDA just to show their performance. When actually FBR should have been working to increase tax net as there are only one million taxpayers among a population of around 220 million’.
He further said LDA is the first ever agency of the Government of the Punjab to attain Free Tax Number (FTN).
“We not only file the statements but also the Income Tax Return with exempt income. And still we are being targeted by the FBR.”
“FBR could not get access to our accounts as we have our own strategy as well. FBR has withdrawn Rs 40million. LDA Other Sponsors is an organization launched by LDA with the collaboration of small industries and other public organizations on partnership basis. FBR has withdrawn their money but the claim is being made that the money they have withdrawn is of LDA. There is also LDA Auction Account which is operated by Director State Management. The money was of the bidders whose bids are rejected in auctions and hence the money is kept by LDA as liability and FBR has illegally withdrawn that money as blackguardism”, told Habban.
He also said that the case is pending in the Lahore High Court due to the irresponsible attitude of FBR. Their lawyer does not come to the hearing and hence the case has not been resolved yet. LDA will start paying tax once the LHC declares LDA income taxable.