LAHORE - Pakistan Industrial & Traders Association Front (PIAF) Tuesday welcomed the Voluntary Tax Compliance Scheme for registration of non-filer traders, terming it a good move to help broaden tax net and improve revenue collection in the country.

PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said here, the Scheme indicated that government believed in resolving the issues with understanding and consultation and this spirit would take the country forward on the path to progress and prosperity.

He lauded the resolution of a long-standing dispute between the government and the different trade bodies over the issue of taxation and said all the stakeholders who played a part in the matter, deserved appreciation.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that main reason for tax evasion in Pakistan was the complicated tax system that discouraged many potential taxpayers from coming into the tax net.

The PIAF Chairman hoped that voluntary tax compliance scheme would have a positive impact as it would encourage documentation of the informal economy by allowing non-filing traders to regularize their undeclared working capital up to Rs 50 million by paying a nominal one percent tax for the tax year 2015.

“I hope this scheme will end the deadlock over the issue of withholding tax on banking transactions,” he added. Some countries have also announced similar amnesty schemes for increasing tax revenues, he said and added that considering the low tax revenue collection, it was a good measure to discourage unhealthy trends like money laundering and sending money through Havala.

He said currently there were hardly one million taxpayers out of the total population of over 190 million and the Scheme would bring improvement in the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio. “Another advantage is that traders will be exempted from audit for four years and non-filers should take maximum benefit of it,” he added.

Irfan Sheikh said the congenial atmosphere would help take the country forward on the path to progress and prosperity. He said, good government-trader ties would help end poverty, counter terrorism, create employment and bring peace across Pakistan, particularly in the country’s nerve centre of Karachi.

PIAF Chairman said there was a need to make progress in all areas may it be the shortage of electricity and natural gas, road infrastructure, poor economy or terrorism.