FBR to take action against tax dodgers from next week
Credit: The News International
KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is all set to launch a major crackdown against individuals with concealed and untaxed offshore assets from next week as the revenue body bets on financial information shared under an international treaty, officials said on Friday.
The officials said the FBR finalised the plan to take actions against tax dodgers with concealed foreign assets. “The action will be initiated from next week on the basis of details obtained under exchange of information with OECD member countries,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
In 2016, Pakistan signed a multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters of the OECD under which member countries agreed to exchange information of financial activities of non-residents. FBR will get information of Pakistanis from more than 100 OECD member countries/jurisdictions where they have bank deposits, insurance policies, and investments in stock exchanges and funds.
“The FBR will receive first set of information of Pakistanis living abroad on September 30,” the official said.
An official at Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) Karachi said the FBR worked out all the formalities to take action against individuals identified through automatic exchange of information between OECD members.
The official said the FBR established a centralised office at its headquarters in Islamabad. It will share the creed with six zones set up across the country for the purpose. The zones will further scrutinise the information. “If an identified individual is not found on the database, he will be sent notice for registration and filing return,” the official said. “Assessment notices for explanation and recovery can also be sent.” Officials said the FBR has already initiated action on the basis of disclosures from the UK. “By October 15, most of the cases will be finalised and recovery proceedings be started,” an official said.
The LTU official said FBR will get information of Pakistanis from British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, China, Denmark, India, Mauritius, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, UAE, UK and other countries.
The FBR’s decision is an upshot of four-month relaxation given to people to declare their undeclared assets with tax payment under an amnesty scheme.
In April, the government announced tax amnesty scheme to give residents one-off tax benefits for repatriating undeclared local liquid assets with a five percent penalty, undeclared foreign liquid assets with a two percent penalty (if repatriated, or a five percent penalty if remaining abroad or in foreign currencies), and undeclared fixed assets – whether held locally or abroad – with a three percent penalty. The scheme expired on July 31.
Almost 70,000 declarations of domestic and foreign assets have fetched around Rs122 billion into the national kitty.
The tax scheme targeted increase in the number of tax return filers from the miniscule 1.6 million. Of the total return filers, alone 700,000 paid taxes.