The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has launched a crackdown against those having undeclared assets, after the Amnesty Scheme culminated on July 3.
The FBR has started investigation into undeclared assets of several public office holders including former president Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Chaudhry Tanveer.
Talking to BBC Urdu, FBR Spokesperson Atiq Sarwar confirmed that the crackdown had been launched against public office holders in the first phase. He said the public office holders who had undeclared assets would neither be able to sell those properties or transfer them to somebody else’s name.
Last month, the federal cabinet had approved Amnesty Scheme and implemented it through the President Ordinance. The government had said the purpose of the scheme was not to collect taxes but to bring undeclared assets under legal efficacy.
Talking to Dunya TV, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi had said the undeclared assets holders could still show their assets by paying normal tax until August 2 and they would neither becharged any fine, nor any action would be taken against them.
“We will not take any action until August 2. The fundamental purpose of the scheme is to expand the number of tax payers in future and document the economy,” he said.
While Atiq Sarwar said he believed that nobody had the right to avail Amnesty Scheme any further under the Benami Act passed by both the Houses of the parliament. He said tax returns could be filed by August 2, but action could be taken against undeclared assets.
The FBR spokesperson said there were different phases of confiscation of undeclared assets. “In the first phase, the owner is oblivious about existence of the properties and tells the beneficiary’s name. In this condition, the assets are put on hold for 90 days and the FBR continues its investigation.”
He said Asif Zardari and Tanvir also belonged to this phase.
He said in the second phase if the person on whose name the undeclared property was kept admits that he owned the holdings then it was investigated whether he could legally afford to buy those assets or not.
Sarwar said neither public officer holders nor military officers could get benefit from the Amnesty Scheme.
State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar had said the law would not be implemented on few specific personalities or politicians but it would be implemented across the board.
In a joint press conference by the chairman FBR, state minister for revenue and Advisor to PM on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, it was revealed that 0.137 million people got benefit from the scheme and got themselves registered. They claimed that it was the most successful scheme in Pakistan’s history.
Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said the taxes collected under this scheme were about Rs70 billion and properties worth Rs3000 billion were declared. He said now the FBR system would be reformed so that the target of tax collection of Rs5500 billion could be achieved.