Hours Before Deadline, FBR’s Iris Portal Becomes Non-Functional

Barely hours before the deadline, the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Iris portal — the platform to file income tax returns — suffered an outage, much to the dismay of tax filers, who keep “refreshing the page” to see if the page’s functionality has restored.

The development has irked citizens as the FBR has already announced that it will not extend the deadline for individuals, Association of Persons (AoPs), and companies, which are required to file income tax returns by the due date of September 30 (today).

However, while it has said that it “would generously grant extensions in all cases of hardship of any nature”, the application for this has to be filed through the very system that has suffered the outage, leaving filers in a fix.

“I keep refreshing the page to see if its working now,” one taxpayer told Business Recorder, wishing not to be named. “It has been non-functional since early morning today (Thursday). Only after mid-day did the log-in page appear. Even then, most of us couldn’t go through. Different messages keep popping up.”

Additionally, the FBR has also said that a person who fails to file the return within the due date will have to pay penalties.

According to the income tax circular 7 of 2021 to explain the Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, a penalty of Rs1,000 or 0.1% (whichever is higher) of tax payable for each day of default will be imposed. However, the minimum penalty shall be Rs10,000 in case of individuals having 75 percent or more income from salary and Rs50,000 in other case, and the maximum penalty shall not exceed 200 percent of tax payable by the person.

“The FBR is testing us,” Zeeshan Merchant, Karachi Tax Bar Association President, told Business Recorder, adding that this adds to the issues faced by the tax filers as the authority has announced that the extension will only be granted to filers through the Iris portal.

“This is a disappointing and irresponsible attitude.

“Only 1.3-1.4 million have filed their tax returns till now, against the FBR target of 3.5 million tax filers.”

The KTBA president urged authorities to grant a general extension to the tax filers till December 31, adding that if the situation does not improve, the government would not be able to enhance its already low tax base.

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