ISLAMABAD   -   The Federal Board of Revenue has initiated proceedings against citizens who failed to declare their benami properties under the Assets Declarations Scheme, which expired on Wednesday.

The scheme helped around 110,000 people to disclose their assets, while 25,000 were said to be in the pipeline, making the total number of declarations at 135,000. The FBR is hoping to generate Rs70 billion through this scheme.

As part of the campaign against anonymously held assets, the FBR Wednesday confiscated 6,000 Kanals benami property in Rawalpindi.

It is alleged that PML-N Senator Chaudhry Tanveer had made these properties in the name of his employees  Abdul Aziz, Azhar, Mohsin, Shahjahan Begum and Raja Shakoor  who were sent notices.

The federal tax collection entity had also been given permission to confiscate eight benami properties in Karachi, including plot No 2/18 located in Karachi Civil Lines.

The tax amnesty scheme was launched on May 14 and was supposed to end on June 30, but the deadline was extended to July 3 because of a lacklustre response from the people.

The first such scheme launched by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government attracted more declarations but generated lesser revenues than the last amnesty introduced by the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The last amnesty introduced during the PML-N led regime had attracted 82,889 declarations and raised Rs124.8 billion tax revenue.

The government and the FBR are declaring the project successful, though a senior FBR member had projected that the current scheme would generate more than double of the revenue generated by the previous scheme i.e. around Rs250 billion.

Despite the demand of the business community, the government refused to extend the scheme beyond July 3 fearing refusal of $6 billion bailout package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The international lender is against such schemes, which help whiten black money, and it had already warned that amnesty scheme should expire by the time its Executive Board meets in Washington on July 3 to consider Islamabad’s loan request. As the government obliged, the IMF Board approved the loan programme Wednesday night.

“The government had given an  opportunity to the people to declare  their hidden wealth or assets by paying nominal tax,” said a senior official of the FBR.

More than the revenue generation, the scheme aimed at documentation of the economy by encouraging more and more people to file their returns, and, he added.

The official further said that government would take swift action against those who have not disclosed their assets.

The FBR had notified the establishment of an Adjudicating Authority under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 2017 to go after those hiding assets and properties.

The Bureau had already obtained a vast collection of data of undeclared properties and assets of the people and put it on its web portal.

The federal taxation authority had asked all the provinces as well as Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to share the data of owners of real estate properties of 500 square yards and above in order to ensure compliance on mandatory requirement of filing of tax returns.