There is an ongoing debate on the extension of the Asset Declaration Scheme expiring tomorrow i.e. June 30, 2019. On various occasions, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi and Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that there would be no extension in the scheme. PM even warned the tax evader that there would be no leniency for anyone, after the expiry of the tax amnesty scheme. He also emphasized on the importance of the scheme and urged the nation to make the most out if it and declare all their assets before the expiry date of 30th June.
Contrary to these claims, the business sector and expat Pakistanis are demanding to extend the deadline of tomorrow so that more people can avail the opportunity. They are of the opinion that the extension would benefit the government to earn the extra bit and it will also help the potential individuals who seek to avail the amnesty.
FBR has announced that the regional offices will remain open for dealing from 8 am to 11 pm to facilitate the clients. The online portal has also witnessed immense traffic and the bureau has asked the concerned authorities to remain to resolve any possible query for smooth online operation.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also opposed the suggestion to extend the deadline of the scheme and has commented that it could damage the country’s case at the board meeting for the processing of the 6 billion USD bailout package. IMF’s country representative for Pakistan Teresa Daban Sanchez said that “Cross country experience shows that tax amnesties have usually huge costs, such as undermining taxpayers’ morale and sense of fairness, that more than offset potential short-term gains”.
By the order of the President, ‘The Asset Declaration and Amnesty Scheme 2019’ was introduced in May 2019. Under the scheme, assets within the country and abroad (except for real estate) could be whitened at a rate of four 4%. The whitened cash would have to be kept in Pakistani bank accounts. For those wanting to keep their whitened money abroad, a rate of 6% was announced. The scheme was open for around 45 days, and now when it is about to expire tomorrow, strong pressure by the business community has been observed to extend the deadline. The point to ponder here is, if they were that much interested in the scheme, why didn’t they took advantage before the expiry of the term?