Relaxation in filing of declarations under amnesty scheme allowed

Published September 11, 2021
The Federal Board of Reserves decided to allow the filing of declarations under the Assets Declaration Ordinance 2019, commonly known as amnesty scheme for the construction industry. — APP/File
The Federal Board of Reserves decided to allow the filing of declarations under the Assets Declaration Ordinance 2019, commonly known as amnesty scheme for the construction industry. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be a major relief, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has allowed those people to file their declarations who have paid their tax on whitening of assets under the 2019 tax amnesty scheme for the construction industry.

The relief will benefit approximately 12,300 individuals who have already deposited Rs2.6 billion in taxes to the FBR on their declared assets in the year 2019. The total amount that was legalised has not been disclosed. The FBR system has been enabled for this purpose and all taxpayers can now file their declarations between Sept 10 and 25.

At a recent press conference, FBR Chairman Ashfaq Ahmed admitted that the government had received data about the assets of Pakistanis abroad under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Develop­ment’s tax convention. They had whitened their untaxed money through the tax amnesty scheme announced by the incumbent government, he said.

It is against this background, that FBR on Friday took another decision of a special dispensation allowing filing of declarations under the Assets Declaration Ordinance 2019, commonly known as amnesty scheme for the construction industry.

Relief will benefit 12,300 individuals who have already deposited Rs2.6bn in taxes to FBR

As per the announcement, the FBR has decided to grant a one-time opportunity to those taxpayers who paid their tax under the amnesty scheme but somehow could not file their declarations. The scheme was launched on May 14, 2019 for payment of tax and declaration of corresponding assets by June 30 that year. The due date was extended till July 3, 2019.

The announcement said that taking cognisance of the hardship caused and to facilitate the aggrieved taxpayers, the FBR had decided to allow filing of declarations for all those citizen taxpayers/persons who deposited tax under the ordinance within the due date but could not file their declarations because of some reason.

As many as 2,125 projects worth Rs350bn have been registered with the FBR’s online system by 1,321 persons. Out of these, 1,775 are new projects and 350 existing ones.

The builders and developers are required to get their projects registered on FBR’s computer-based IRIS software on or before June 30 this year and the projects should be completed before Sept 30, 2023.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the package for the construction industry in April 2019. The amnesty scheme, which had been offered till December 2020, was later extended for another six months to facilitate those intending to invest their untaxed money in construction projects.

The facility of non-disclosure of sources of income has been extended till June 2021 and the amnesty scheme till December 2021 to avail the fixed tax regimes for the construction sector. However, the non-disclosure of sources of income was not further extended.

An official announcement said the FBR’s Policy Wing gave a detailed briefing to Chairman Ashfaq Ahmed on the progress made on the Prime Minister’s Relief Package for Construction Industry.

The salient features of the package include fixed tax for builders and developers, immunity from probe and concessions from withholding of taxes. The FBR has provided all the required facilities to the beneficiaries of the package which include the establishment of a dedicated web page, dedicated email to address inquiries and an online step-by-step guide for the builders and developers.

Besides, a comprehensive set of FAQs for potential buyers and investors was developed which is available on FBR’s website. Moreover, wide publicity through media campaigns was also done to maximise the gains of this relief package.

The FBR chairman directed that ease of doing business must be ensured to the registered projects under the package for the construction sector. He desired that regular update on the progress be communicated through the media on a weekly basis, added the announcement.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2021

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