ISLAMABAD: Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh is addressing a press briefing on Thursday—Online
ISLAMABAD: Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh is addressing a press briefing on Thursday—Online

ISLAMABAD: The government’s finance team announced on Thursday that a total of 137,000 people have registered for the tax amnesty scheme and deposited a Rs70 billion in taxes until Wednesday (July 3).

Addressing a press briefing Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh flanked by State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi disclosed that assets worth over Rs3,000 billion had been declared under the scheme.

However, he did not share the breakdown of how much of this was foreign versus domestic assets.

Likewise, data was also not available that how many people have opted for the pay-later-option. Total amount to be received as taxes will only become known once the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) releases this data as well.

Tax officials, who are directly involved in the processing of tax amnesty scheme data, told Dawn that the system is choked and thus far showed only 128,000 declarations and a tax payment of around Rs70bn on the system.

Around 119,000 people have successfully deposited their declarations paying around Rs56bn in revenue. Further data analysis showed that around Rs14bn is in the pipeline along with 9,000 declarations.

According to these officials, there is a possibility that more drafts will be cleared through the system which may increase the overall number. “The system is choked and the final results will be cleared in a day or two”, the official said.

The revenue minister and the FBR chairman did not reply to requests for further comment on the amount of revenue to be expected from those declarants who have opted the ‘pay-later-option’.

The finance adviser said the primary objective of the scheme was to raise the number of future taxpayers and allow people to whiten their money. He said the scheme was availed by the highest number for any scheme thus far and included over 100,000 people who were previously non-filers.

“This is the biggest number of beneficiaries in a single scheme in Pakistan’s history which made it unique to other schemes in which the people also declared their assets worth of Rs3tr,” Hafeez observed. Answering a question the FBR chief said that tax department has already received data of industrial consumers. He said out of 141,000 consumers only 43,000 are registered with the tax department. “We will send notices to the industrial consumers to file their returns,” Shabbar said, adding next step will be to bring commercial users into the tax net.

“The FBR has also received data of property from Punjab and Sindh. As per income tax ordinance every car owner irrespective of income is bound to file tax returns. Similarly, those who have one kanal and above house is also bound to file tax return,” the FBR chief said.

“For such people to come in the tax net, the FBR has extended the last date further to August 2 for the tax year 2018,” he added.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2019



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