President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday, while lauding the Federal Tax Ombudsman’s (FTO) role in providing relief to the taxpayers, emphasized the need to create more awareness on the forum’s efficacy through traditional and digital media. In a meeting with Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera, who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president appreciated the FTO in resolving complaints of the taxpayers against the maladministration of tax authorities and using own motion powers to unearth irregularities in the taxation system. The president expressed his satisfaction over the proper utilization of traditional and digital media by FTO Office to promote awareness among the taxpayers regarding free services for redressal of complains and efforts to digitalize FTO office using IT based Complaint Management Information System (CMIS).He also eulogized the development of a mobile phone application to facilitate the taxpayers in complaint registration process as well as establishment of paperless office environment in FTO Secretariat. President Alvi emphasized that there was a need to create more awareness about the efficacy of the forum by utilizing the traditional as well as digital media.President Dr. Arif Alvi also observed that there was room for improvement to the Act/Law of Federal Tax Ombudsman to make this institution more effective in order to provide speedy justice to the taxpayers. He assured his support to the institution in the discharge of its duties and functions.Federal Tax Ombudsman Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera presented report on performance of FTO office during 2019 along with comparative figures of last five years, which showed significant growth in almost all measurable indicators of performance from 2015 to 2019. President Arif Alvi was apprised that sanction and payment of stuck up tax refunds of Rs. 5864.94 million were facilitated to the taxpayers and 82.59% recommendations made by the FTO Office were implemented by FBR and its subordinate officers during 2019.He apprised the president that the majority of the taxpayers’ complaints were about grievances in the assessment processes which was not the FTO’s mandate.However, improvement in the law of FTO office would empower it to look into such matters.Federal Tax Ombudsman reported that during 2019, FTO office received 2510 fresh complaints and 202 own motion cases involving huge revenue and glaring maladministration, were registered.After adding 458 complaints carried over from previous year and some inspection report based cognizance, all registered cases totaled to 3171. Out of these, 2633 complaints were disposed of during the year 2019, compared to 1880 complaints redressed during the calendar year 2018.The Federal Tax Ombudsman said that the FTO Office conveyed its recommendations to FBR regarding misuse of zero-rating facility and audit of manufacturers, misuse of jewelry export and illegal gold trade, unlawful compulsion of non-residents to file returns and irregularities in seizure, auction and smuggling of non-custom paid vehicles and others.The FTO said in total 25 research studies and proposals had been sent to FBR during 2019 for systemic improvement.Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi Friday said that all the activities of the state, government and the people could be carried out hassle-free if the anti-COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) are truly followed.In a tweet, the president said that consensus between government and the Shia scholars on anti-COVID SOPs during Muharram ul Haram manifested the tendency of all schools of thought to unite on all national objectives.He said the mourning processions and majalis (gatherings) in Muharram would continue subject to the enforcement of the SOPs.The president thanked the ministers, AJK president, provincial governors and the Shia scholars for evolving a consensus on the SOPs for Muharram rituals, like the ones for Tarawih prayer and mosques during the Holy month of Ramazan.