KARACHI: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha on Saturday warned business community that the government has collected virtually the entire data related to hidden and undeclared assets held inside and outside the country, therefore the tax amnesty scheme gives them an opportunity to whiten such assets on paying tax at a nominal rate.
However, in case anyone fails to avail this opportunity which ends on June 30, he said, all such undeclared and hidden assets will incur heavy penalties as well as paying the standard tax rate assessed on them.
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He was speaking at an interactive session at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI).
Due to rapidly changing global environments, he said, all those countries once considered “safe havens” for such undeclared and ill gotten wealth and money are now in the grip of uncertainty and could no longer provide protection or cover to such assets.
Rules out extension in deadline for amnesty scheme
The government has already collected all the information about such hidden and undeclared assets from Gulf countries and the Federal Board of Revenue has already issued notices to 100 such cases, he emphasised.
Similarly, all details are available with FBR about local assets such as open plots, houses and flats that were never declared in the books of accounts, he added.
He further said that Pakistan has already become member of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) & Common Reporting System and from September 1, 2018 will start getting real time information about such hidden transactions from 104 countries across the globe.
The FBR chairman gave the example of the Bank of England which has started issuing notices to account holders for providing information about source of funds in their accounts.
He said there was no question of extending the last date of June 30, 2018 for availing the amnesty as had been in the case of filing of tax returns which fully fall under the domain of FBR. The scheme, he pointed out, had been passed by the National Assembly and changes were not possible to make.
He assured that no over-riding effects of past laws could be made on the law of the amnesty scheme 2018 and all the declarants should avail the scheme without fears and apprehensions because this is an opportunity one should not miss if he/she wants to have a peace of mind. He further said no notice will be issued under any law to declarants under the amnesty scheme 2018.
The FBR chairman was assisted by President Pakistan Tax Bar Association (PTBA) Abdul Qadir Memon who said that the Supreme Court has issued a decision stating that tax amnesty scheme is totally government’s internal matter.
The FBR chairman lauded the services of the business community for its help in drafting the scheme, saying it was basically them who had developed it and the FBR only fine tuned some of its details.
Repeated attempts were made to know how much tax collection has been made so far under the tax amnesty scheme, the FBR chairman refused to give any figure but said that much of response up till now has come from Gulf countries.