THE ways of our finance mandarins defy logic. They do not hesitate to offer amnesty to tax evaders, levying two per cent tax for declaring Rs50 million and one per cent for those showing Rs250 million. On the other hand, they have no qualms in levying 15pc witholding tax on widows, orphans, pensioners, the handicapped and senior citizens who have invested in National Saving Schemes.
There seems to be no end to the government’s desire to endlessly facilitate criminals, smugglers and tax evaders, who otherwise should be punished in accordance with the laws.
No system of governance can function for long that rewards law breakers and tax evaders while penalising and punishing law abiders and honest citizens. Pakistan’s troubles are due to its failure to enforce laws.
Amnesty in the past for tax offenders, smugglers and land grabbers has only helped in expanding black economy.
APROPOS the editorial ‘Tax amnesty scheme’ (Jan 4). People who do not pay their dues are wilful defaulters, and in fact, have been opposing the state’s efforts to collect badly needed revenue to combat terrorism, targeted killings and extortion.
In most countries, such elements would have been tried as criminals (if not traitors). In Pakistan, they are being rewarded. What kind of message is the government conveying to honest tax payers? That they are wrong in paying their due taxes? The only way to deal with non-payers is to confiscate their assets, freeze their bank accounts, put their names on the exit control list and try them in special courts.
The National Action Plan should also be used for this purpose. Let’s learn from our Chinese friends, where many corrupt people have faced the death penalty.
Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2016