ISLAMABAD: With the curtain set to drop on the amnesty scheme, nearly 15,000 people have filed returns declaring their domestic as well as foreign assets and deposited Rs21 billion in taxes till July 31, Dawn has learnt through knowledgeable sources.

On the other hand, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) has claimed to have collected provisionally Rs225bn in July as against Rs211bn in the corresponding month of last year, reflecting an increase of 6.6 per cent.

These figures do not include taxes collected under the amnesty scheme.

Overall collection in first month of FY19 rises to Rs225bn

The final amount of amnesty collections is going to be higher by at least Rs10bn since the sources confirm that more funds are in the pipeline on payment slips issued. This amount is expected to be received in August.

It will be a historic scheme in the country’s history in which not only the highest-ever tax was received, but also an unprecedented amount of domestic and foreign assets were whitened in a two-month period.

The normal tax collection in the first month of the current fiscal year also witnessed growth, reviving hope that the annual revenue collection target will be achieved. Government projected the FBR target at Rs4,435bn for the year 2018-19.

The caretaker government had extended the one-time amnesty scheme from July 1 to July 31 after receiving several complaints and requests from people who cited reasons for not availing the scheme in the first month.

Sources in the FBR revealed that the tax amnesty scheme – announced by the PML-N government – which got off to a lacklustre start, saw a surge of interest since the last hearing in the case held in the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry on June 11.

A similar trend was observed in July as the pace of declarations to whiten domestic and foreign assets gained momentum in the wake of prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan’s message in his first speech to launch crackdown against tax evaders.

Many people are still hoping that the new government will extend the scheme for another month but PTI’s prospective finance minister MNA-elect Asad Umar has already announced several times in television programmes that his government is against the scheme and will initiate massive reforms of the tax department to check evasion and expand the tax net.

In this background, the sources said many people have opted for availing the scheme in the post-election period. “We are expecting to receive maximum response on foreign assets declarations,” the sources said.

Several challans have been submitted by tonight while the amount of tax will be deposited after due process. FBR has received around Rs9bn in taxes in July against those challans, which were submitted on June 30.

Nearly 55,000 people had declared more than Rs1,770bn worth of domestic and foreign assets under the tax amnesty scheme until June 30 and paid around Rs99bn in taxes.

Officials believe that the first month collection is well on track which will help FBR in reaching the revenue collection target for the current fiscal year.

The bureau is expecting more revenue from book adjustments and reconciliation in the next one week.

Further details show that FBR has collected an amount of Rs173bn in Inland Revenue – income tax, sales tax and federal excise duty as against Rs170bn over the last year, showing an increase of 1.76pc.

Officials believe the amount under the IRS will cross Rs180bn after finalisation of the figures.

In the 1958 amnesty scheme, an amount of Rs1.12bn was recovered from undeclared assets, followed by Rs920m in 1968, Rs1.5bn in 1976, Rs10bn in 2000 and Rs3.16bn in 2008. There are several other schemes which were also offered in 1985, 1991, 1998, 2012 and 2016.

However, the FBR did not disclose their revenue recovery or beneficiaries.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018