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FBR identifies 96,000 foreign account holders

Updated November 10, 2018

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Minister of State for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar says "government is determined to take action on this". — File photo
Minister of State for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar says "government is determined to take action on this". — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar informed the National Assembly on Friday that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected data on Pakistanis having bank accounts abroad.

During question answer session, he said that "we have collected data of 96,000 account holders from abroad and the government is determined to take action on this".

Opposition member Abdul Akbar asked the minister to provide “reasons for not taking any action” against those individuals who were named in the Panama Papers for allegedly owning offshore assets.

The minister informed the assembly that so far 294 individuals had been issued notices under “relevant section” of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

About 150 people could not be traced due to “incomplete particulars”, while 12 people were no longer alive, the minister added.

He further said that audit proceedings had been finalised in 15 cases and the remaining 36 cases were being heard. Meanwhile, 242 cases were being “pursued to initiate proceedings”.

In a written reply the Finance Ministry he said the government remains committed to introduce reforms and development of the FBR.

The federal cabinet on Thursday decided to separate revenue collection administration from tax policy formation to promote equity and transparency in the FBR.

The decision was taken at a special briefing meeting headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan who directed all economic divisions to keep the executive body in loop on the progress of ongoing reforms.

The government is taking measures to enhance the capacity of FBR to collect revenue and make it an agency which provides fair and justice treatment to the taxpayers, said Mr Azhar.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2018