Amnesty scheme: last chance to legalize undeclared assets: FBR chief

Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Tariq Mahmood Pasha Monday said Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 is last chance to legalize undeclared assets therefore the business community must avail this opportunity. He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Punjab caretaker minister for finance Syed Zia Haider Rizvi was also present on the occasion.

Chairman FBR urged the business community to avail the benefits of Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 as it was a last chance to legalize undeclared assets. He said the scheme would increase tax revenue, enhance foreign exchange reserves, reduce the current account deficit, improve balance of payments, bring foreign capital to Pakistan and enhance economic activities.

He said the business community was the major part of economic system and it should be given respect and honour by the tax collection machinery. The issues relating to refunds were being resolved swiftly, he said. “This year sales tax refunds amounting to Rs 102 billion have been paid as compared to last year payment of Rs 54 billion,” he added. The issue of sales tax refunds would completely be resolved within next two years. Though, the total payment of sales tax refunds could not be made mainly due to lack of resources, yet there was significant improvement in this regard, he maintained.

About the alternative dispute resolution mechanism (DRM), Tariq Mahmood Pasha said that FBR would compile a list of DRM committee members while the business community would select its own members. He, however, categorically said the necessary parities to the dispute would be found to accept the DRM Committee’s decision.

He said that repeated audit were causing difficulties for the business community but now only one audit would be held in three years. “This move will help get rid of misuse of discretionary powers by the tax machinery,” he said. He said that regulatory duty had been reduced or abolished on various items in the recent budget. He asked the businessmen to discourage the import of the items being produced locally.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said the government should extend the deadline of the tax amnesty scheme at least for one month. He said there should be no regulatory duty on raw materials which were not available in Pakistan.

He pointed out there were different rates of sales tax for traders, manufacturers and commercial importers which created certain ambiguities and suggested uniform percentage of sale tax for all categories. He stressed the need for harmony among the provincial and federal tax collecting agencies. Due to double taxation, the members of business community face a lot of issues, he said.

He said the Lahore Chamber had opposed the withholding tax on case withdrawal and said it should be abolished immediately. He asked the FBR to strengthen the alternative dispute resolution mechanism for being inexpensive and swift.