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Member FBR says undeclared assets can hardly benefit people

Member FBR says undeclared assets can hardly benefit people

MULTAN: Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Member Accounting Faheemul Haq has said that experience and observation showed that assets that were kept hidden or undeclared or benami property could hardly benefit the people.

The FBR Member said this while giving a briefing on tax amnesty scheme and responding questions raised by representatives of Chamber of Small Traders and Industry, Tax Bar Association, and Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) here.

He said that business people needed a trouble-free atmosphere to run businesses peacefully. And any trouble in tax matters could complicate things, he said adding that tax amnesty scheme was the best option for business and Industry to avail it and run business with peace of mind. Those who availed the scheme would not face any difficulty in future.

He said that it was the 9th amnesty scheme announced by any government, but it was different in a way that it was easy to opt and carry lower taxes. He asked Tax Bar officials and members to advocate this scheme to benefit their clients. He said the FBR was performing duties efficiently despite lack of resources. Sometimes, officials had to hire rickshaws to conduct raids, he said.

Faheemul Haq admitted that FBR website was not easy to understand for common persons but added that it was being simplified and feedback from business and Industry was being taken into account.

He said that tax on cellphone bills or charging balance was not being charged on Supreme Court orders but disclosed that FBR policy wing was working on tax on mobile phone billing/balance charging.

He said that the change in procedure for vehicle transfer would end the practice of using vehicles on open transfer letter and ensure good revenue collection. He said, “Pakistan has given us respect and we should maintain our assets and property in our own country to benefit its economy.”

He disclosed that bank transactions would no more be hidden after the introduction of benami law, adding that expanding revenue base was the future target of the government.

However, he added that efforts were also being made to minimize documentation.

Chamber of Small Traders president Zafar Iqbal Siddiqui suggested amendment in Sections 113 and 153 of tax laws to benefit traders. He demanded that business persons facing cases should also be allowed to avail the amnesty scheme. He said that doctors and lawyers falling in the higher income group should be brought into the tax net.

Tax Bar President Bashir Ansari said that the amnesty scheme should be extended for another month as people were busy in election and takeover by the newly elected government would also take time.

Chief Commissioner Inland Revenue Abid Raza Bodla said that money declared under the scheme was not tagged as black money but as undeclared money, adding people may not have declared it out of their ignorance, fear or any other reason.

He said it was better to increase revenue at home through different initiatives instead of knocking on the door of IMF. He said, there were instances when they had to face political interference in tax collection but added he did not see a possibility of its recurrence any time soon pleading the country did not have any option other than increasing revenue generation.

MCCI President Malik Israr Ahmad Awan and vice president Khawaja Farooq also spoke on the occasion and hailed the tax amnesty scheme.