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FBR chief urges businessmen to avail amnesty scheme

FAISALABAD: Businessmen who have kept their assets abroad or invested in real estate should legalise them through the amnesty scheme, suggested Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha.
Speaking to business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), Pasha emphasised that stashing of undeclared assets in other countries by Pakistanis would not be possible under a multilateral convention and anti-money laundering laws, and urged businessmen to avail themselves of the scheme.
Pasha said the multilateral convention would come into effect on September 1 and under the agreement more than 102 countries, including Pakistan, would be bound to exchange information about assets of foreigners in their respective areas.
The FBR chief pointed out that the scheme provided an opportunity to businessmen to legalise their undeclared assets that were kept abroad due to different reasons. However, the scheme would not provide any cover to the investment made through corruption or criminal activities.
In case Pakistanis preferred to keep their investments in other countries, they would have to pay full tax on them while criminal proceedings could also be initiated against them in that country, he said.
“Dubai has already provided a complete list of Pakistanis who have invested in real estate there. If owners of these properties fail to legalise their investments, they will have to face the music,” Pasha said.
He revealed that the FBR had so far completed 85% data mapping of the real estate sector. He warned that people who failed to take benefit of the last opportunity to legalise their assets would be interrogated and legal action could also be initiated against them.
Responding to a question, he said ultimate objective of the scheme was to pull Pakistan out of the economic crisis and strengthen its foreign exchange reserves. In this connection, steps are being taken to ensure payment of these taxes through repatriation of dollars from other countries.
Speaking on the occasion, FCCI’s former president Mian Adrees said it would be better to raise funds from domestic resources instead of getting $5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which may increase inflation in the country. He suggested that the FBR should convince people to voluntarily pay taxes instead of harassing them.