Condemning the proposed legal change that allows arrest of businessmen for concealing income on just doubt by tax officers, the Friends of Economic & Business Reforms (FEBR) has urged the government to withdraw the Section 203 (A) of the Income Tax Ordinance. The new section grants more discretionary powers to the officials to arrest a person with start of the proceedings, which is a harsh measure and would shatter confidence of the taxpayers on the FBR, observed FEBR President Kashif Anwar. Referring to the new finance bill of the budget 2021-22, he said that proposed amendments into section 203A has opened doors to harassment of business, industry, and traders’ community. Under the proposed changes, an officer of Inland Revenue, on the basis of material evidence has reason to believe that any person has committed offence of concealment of income or any offence warranting prosecution under this [income tax] ordinance, may cause arrest of such person. Kashif Anwar said section 203A would add to the already existing harassment of businessmen by tax officials through issuance of several thousand notices. Finance Minister’s timely intervention has resulted in withdrawal of a large number of notices issued to the businessmen and FEBR appreciates this step. He said businessmen must be respected for generating taxes and employment for the country. The business should be conducted in harmony instead of in conflicts and contradictions created by the tax officials and their discretionary powers. Section 192A (Prosecution for Concealment of Income) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, already covers the subject sufficiently. There is no need of Section 203A and FEBR demands it should be omitted, he said. We are looking forward to resolve this issue by withdrawal of the Section 203A on immediate basis. He said that there was no need to introduce provisions like Sec-203(A) as it already exists in tax laws and bringing in such new provisions would create new problems and difficulties for the taxpayers instead of improving the tax revenue of the country. He said that this provision would not serve the interest of the country; rather it would shatter the confidence of taxpayers and discourage potential investors from investing in Pakistan. He said that at the one hand, the prime minister was giving assurances to the business community that his government would minimize the direct interaction between the tax machinery and the taxpayers through automation, but on the other hand, new provisions were being introduced in tax laws to give more discretionary powers to tax officials that would create more harassment in the business circles.