ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has made an attempt to collect particulars of Pakistanis, who have shown interest in buying properties and luxurious apartments in Dubai, as recently seminars were organised in Karachi and Lahore by international marketing companies to lure the local investors.
It has been reliably learnt that foreign property companies from Dubai held seminars in Karachi and Lahore recently to attract locals for booking of luxury apartments in Dubai. The prices of such luxury apartments starts from Rs 15 million and prices go up manifold for apartments in high-rise towers and apartments built by branded ventures of global repute.
Tax authorities showed strong apprehensions that this is a move for flight of capital from Pakistan in the form of investment in proprieties in Dubai. FBR took notice of the advertisements and decided to send their team of tax officials at these seminars at Karachi and Lahore to collect information about the visitors who wanted to purchase apartments in Dubai. Sources said that FBR has not given any written instructions to the field formations in Karachi and Lahore for collection of data at these seminars. However, it was decided at the Board’s level to check particulars of keen buyers and verbal instructions were communicated to the relevant field formations in Karachi and Lahore to visit the seminars organised in hotels.
Certain tax officers and officials visited these seminars in the form of a team at the designated hotels located in Karachi and Lahore. Primarily, tax officers watched the kind of people who have shown interest in the seminars. They observed the visitors and also tried to collect data about such visitors, who were interested in purchasing property in Dubai. It was a sort of advertisement and awareness campaign rather booking of apartments or advance payments. The visitors collected brochures and inquired about different kinds of real estate investments in Dubai.
According to sources, it was found that the seminars were mainly a kind of publicity campaign, but no purchase/booking of apartments took place.
Reportedly, the tax officials concerned informed the Board that no bookings or advance payments were made in the seminars as communicated by the organisers to these officers. The tax officials also approached the organisers to collect information with the argument that the tax department has legal authority to collect information about the interested persons who have given their phone numbers and addresses to the investors.
The organisers assured the tax officials that they would provide the requisite information during their next visit to Pakistan in November 2013. The organisers further reportedly informed the tax officials that the information of investor is available in their main offices in Dubai. Tax officials also made an attempt to obtain the information by referring to the tax laws in Pakistan, but the organisers insisted to provide the data during their next visit. As the tax officials have no first hand information about the persons who just visited seminars for awareness, FBR is not pursing the exercise in the absence of the relevant data, sources said.