ISLAMABAD - The business community has called upon the government to extend the tax amnesty scheme, which currently seems to be heading towards a flop, for one month so that maximum number of businessmen and other people could take benefit of it.

“The outgoing government had announced an amnesty scheme, which is ending on June 30, during last days of its term, but the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court for review due to which businessmen could not take benefit of it as they were waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court. However, now the SC has approved the amnesty scheme and removed all doubts and ambiguities about it,” said Muhammad Naveed Malik, acting president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry while chairing a meeting of business community. He called upon the government to give at least one month’s extension in tax amnesty scheme.

The previous PML-N government had announced tax amnesty scheme to declare local and foreign assets by paying nominal tax. The scheme became effective from April 10 and will run till June 30, 2018. However, people are not taking interest to take benefit from the amnesty scheme, as only few thousand people have declared their assets. Now only two weeks are remaining in the scheme and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has become active and devised an aggressive media campaign to target elite people in the country as well as abroad to lure them for availing the one-time tax amnesty scheme.

Acting president of ICCI, while talking to the businessmen, said that the Supreme Court has approved the amnesty scheme and removed all doubts and ambiguities about it. He said the scheme was going to end on 30th June 2018 while due to Eid holidays; insufficient time was left for the business community and other people to work out the detail of assets for availing this scheme. He emphasized that the government should give at least one month’s extension in the scheme till 31st July 2018, saying it would facilitate potential taxpayers to take benefit of this scheme. It will also help in expanding the tax net of the country, he observed.

Speaking at the occasion, Mian Akram Farid, president Industrial Association Islamabad, said that the outgoing government had taken a positive initiative by introducing a tax amnesty scheme as it would enable the Pakistanis to legalise their undeclared assets by paying a nominal tax of 5 percent. He said the overseas Pakistanis would also be able to bring their assets to the country by paying just 2 percent tax. However, he said the scheme was ending on 30th June and business community needed more time to prepare documentation. He stressed that the government should give extension in the scheme so that maximum people could take advantage of it.

Raja Safeer, office bearer of Industrial Association Islamabad, said that USA, Germany, Indonesia, India, Brazil and other countries have also incentivised their potential taxpayers to disclose local and foreign assets by introducing voluntary disclosure schemes with lower tax rates. He hoped that the current amnesty scheme would also be beneficial for the taxpayers as well as the national economy.