Pakistan tax amnesty to end on July 31

Dubai: Pakistani nationals who hold movable or immovable property and undisclosed cash in foreign countries have been cautioned that they have only four days left to avail the tax payment amnesty scheme.

They will have to pay heavy penalty or face prosecution after the expiry of this amnesty window, officials said on Thursday.

A delegation comprising senior officers from Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) held a press conference at the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai on Thursday to answer queries from people here and urge them to make use of the four remaining days.

The tax amnesty scheme declared by the Federal Board of Revenue, passed by parliament and whetted by the Supreme Court came into effect in April. Originally meant to be until June 30, an extension was granted for a month which concludes on July 31. The scheme was initiated to give a chance to tax defaulters to come clean and also for the revenue board to be able to raise money from defaulters.

The scheme is not applicable to overseas Pakistanis who live and work for more than six months abroad who have movable and immovable property, including cash. It applies only to resident Pakistanis who may have undisclosed cash and property abroad that they may have purchased with their earnings within the country.

Talha Aziz, staff officer to the chairperson of FBR, said the board had received a huge response in the last two months following a sustained media campaign to familiarise citizens about this scheme.

Under the scheme, citizens of Pakistan who may be holding assets abroad are being asked to voluntarily declare their assets with no questions asked and no additional surcharge.

“This is a golden opportunity for citizens to declare their undisclosed assets by paying two per cent tax on declaration and repatriation of foreign assets, three per cent on declaration of immovable foreign assets and five per cent on declaration of foreign assets they do not wish to repatriate,” Aziz said.

Qadir Baksh, additional director of SBP, said after the end of the scheme period, those who failed to avail this opportunity could face heavy penalties and punitive action later.

“Defaulters can risk detection under the new international tax regime that has tightened accountability for undisclosed income or assets anywhere in the world. Tax on an old property (even as old as from the 1950s) which is declared after amnesty will be charged as per the current rate and defaulters can also face heavy penalties and prosecution,” Baksh said.

Nasir Khan, commercial counsellor at the consulate, reiterated that this amnesty was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to come into the mainstream taxation system and streamline their finances and also improve the fiscal health of the country.

Sources at the consulate also hinted that there was a possibility of extension of another month for the scheme if the response continued to be strong but this was not confirmed by the consulate spokesperson.

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