THE speech by Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 30 emphasising the importance of paying taxes and exhorting people to take advantage of the recently announced amnesty scheme is commendable as far as the importance of paying taxes is concerned.
However, as a regular taxpayer for decades, I don’t support the underlying principle of amnesty for two reasons: first, honest taxpayers pay the taxes at a much higher rate, then why allow tax evaders the benefit of whitening their assets with a much lower tax rate? Second, past experience has taught us that such schemes seldom succeed, if at all.
The prime minister also stated that his government has more than sufficient knowledge of Pakistanis’ assets abroad. If so, then why grant them amnesty? Isn’t this rewarding dishonesty?
While on this topic why does the government need to look at Pakistanis’ assets abroad? All the luxury cars and the palatial houses in the country are all registered with one government department or the other. They can be easily investigated to find out whether their owners are taxpayers or not.
All this requires a political will, which all previous governments lacked.
My faith in the present one in this regard was shaken when they allowed non-filers to buy cars and real-estate in the mini-budget, banned by the previous government.
Hoping against hope, I wish the amnesty scheme succeeds.
CAN someone knowledgeable explain how a declaration of assets will tend to increase the flow of income tax into the treasury?
How will this asset declaration scheme justify the so-called amnesty? What is understood by this scheme is that it is aimed at adding the people who have declared their assets to the tax net and make them face its aftereffects.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2019