ISLAMABAD: FBR has already developed a computerized system, CREST, for its better working in terms of detecting discrepancies and recovering revenues without any delays to meet the targets on time. The government will improve the system and further expand it as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has mentioned this in a budgetary meeting.
Computerized Risk-based Evaluation of Sales Tax (CREST) software checks information in monthly returns, import/export data and cross matches for every registered person.
CREST allows faster and timely sending of discrepancy-alerts to taxpayers. The system also provides taxpayers an IT system that they can use in order to reply to the CREST discrepancy-alerts without taxpayer needing to visit the tax offices.
CREST helps in zero-rated sales discrepancies as CREST detection in non-verified zero-rated sales is available in special return. One can add missing invoices or edit invoices shown for depositing final liability. These are subject to verification by the system developed by the FBR.
Ishaq Dar also stressed upon elimination of corruption in FBR but only mere statements are not enough and practical steps have to be taken on emergency basis because in 2005 FBR had introduced such a system, totally computerized and modern as per international standards but it could not work on detection, and only limited to be a scanning system.
Had the deficiencies pointed by audit report in 2011 in the modules been rectified, the loss of billions of rupees detected in the inquiry report conducted by FBR could have been avoided. The audit further revealed that out of 20 modules included in contract, three were not developed and eight were left incomplete by the vendor despite the receipt of entire contractual amount. Short and non-development of certain modules resulted in non-realisation of government revenue amounting Rs 1565.43 million. The submitted brief further revealed that PaCCS project was completed at a cost of Rs 116.108 million against the approved cost of Rs 55.00 million. There was cost over-run of Rs 61.108 million, which had not yet been regularized by the competent authority.
Furthermore, a system established in October 2008 named Post Clearance Audit (PCA) is the most important organ of FBR which has been able to detect and plug leakages of legitimate government revenues to the tune of billions of rupees. PCA is now integrated into the WeBOC clearances besides One Customs clearances. It is developed to computerize the audit procedures through trainings and capacity-building of the staff and officers of Post Clearance Audit. And now it is the CREST.
Depending on computerized system may reduce leaks and procedural flaws in FBR but corruption can only be eliminated by drawing a line between the fair and the unfair, the loyal and the disloyal, because it always seems that field officers have drawn a clear line by making red, yellow and green channels which indicate tax waiver, yellow indicates such importers and exporters who sometimes pay and normally do not pay and green channel represents clean payments of customs duties.
Most of exporters and importers are trying hard for convenient enclosure with the consent of field officers so that to avoid increasing duties and taxes.