Thursday, June 18, 2015

Exam on Eid day!

After reading the title, I'm sure you would have thought I'm a whiny brat narrating some anecdote from my time abroad which I spent on my father's money. Let me disabuse you of that notion. This story took place in Lahore, Pakistan in October 2006.

My school decided that it was best to appear for our Islamiat and Pak Studies O Level exams in October of 2006 rather than in June the next year. This led to a hasty stretch to complete syllabus to both courses, neither of which was complete.

But the bigger problem was that the exams fell during the Holy Month of Ramazan. With our backs against the wall, we somehow survived the Pak Studies exam. What awaited us was unheard of. The Eid moon was not sighted, which meant there would be 30 'rozas', aligning our Islamiat Paper 1 with the Eid day! To top it off, the paper was to start at 8 am.

I remember missing Eid prayers, something I hadn't done before or since that fateful day in October. My cousins were celebrating while I went for my exam. As if this wasn't enough, the second part of the exam was the next day.

When I remember that Eid, I do not feel sad because of missing out on the fun but because there was no resistance to that schedule before or after the exam session. What hurt me most was my friends' obsequence. I know you can't change the schedule but at least shoot an email to the British Council condeming their lack of sensitivity to our religious festivities. Just imagine these exams being held on Christmas eve. Impossible!

Why I write this now is for the future candidates who wish to take these exams in the years to come. As Ramazan moves into May, the chances of Eid falling on an exam day will rise. Schools and candidates should request the British council to at least schedule no exams on the 2-3 days that Eid could fall on. It isn't too much to ask given the amount of revenues the British Council derives from O and A level exams conducted in Pakistan.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tax return filing made easy

The Federal Board Revenue (FBR) has made your life easy by automating the process for getting an NTN number and filing income tax returns.

In order to get an NTN, follow these steps:
1) Visit FBR's new registration website (Register here)
2) Fill out your CNIC, Name and the image characters
3) This will take you to a form, where you have to fill your details
4) Submit the form

Once you have submitted your form, in a week or so you will be informed that your registration has been successful and that you can take your registration certificate from the given offices. You can either go to that office OR you can just visit FBR's new registration website again (given above). Enter the same details you entered earlier, the system will inform you that the displayed NTN number has already been assigned to you. Save this number for your record.

Once you have your NTN number, it is time to start filing returns. Follow these steps:
1) Go to FBR's website for e-enrollment. (This is the link)
2) Select your Taxpayer type (Individual, AOP, Business)
3) Enter your new NTN, CNIC and image characters
4) You will be asked to enter some information. After entering, submit the form.
5) A message will acknowledge your application and inform you that an email has been sent to your provided address
6) Wait for the email. When it arrives, click the acknowledge link, enter your activation code and print the form
7) You will shortly receive your username and password for filing
8) Also, post the printed form to the address specified in the email