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Tax amnesty scheme termed politically motivated

Tax amnesty scheme termed politically motivated

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders has criticised the recently-announced tax amnesty scheme terming it politically motivated.

The decision amounts to punishing honest taxpayers while rewarding the tax cheats which would further weaken the tax compliance and encourage the undocumented economy, it said.

The government should have avoided shortcuts and refrained from laying down arms in front of the tax evaders, said Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt.

The outcome of the fourth tax amnesty scheme of the incumbent government will not be different from the previous ones and it will not be beneficial to the economy, he added.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that scheme has been announced just before the elections while other political parties have not been taken into confidence, therefore, they have started opposing it which has raised questions about its success.

Moreover, he said, people are not certain that their money would be utilized properly and they are sure that they would avoid punishment for evading taxes which discourage tax compliance.

The business leader said that announcing frequent schemes encourages evasion, therefore, such a scheme should be announced once in a decade.

Pakistan’s best scheme was announced in 2008 while helped the then government to raise Rs 2.8 billion while Indonesia raised $330 billion in just two such schemes.

Indonesia has announced four tax amnesty schemes in seventy years while it has become a routine in Pakistan, he added. Those Pakistanis who want to retain their assets in foreign countries will have to pay five percent tax while India charges 45 percent tax for the same, he said, adding that evaders do not deserve such concessions.