‘Amnesty scheme may fail to achieve objectives’

ISLAMABAD – The recently announced tax amnesty scheme may fail to achieve desired results due to shortcomings which are keeping people away, a business leader said Sunday. The scheme is full of mistakes and contradictions while it has some weaknesses which are keeping tax consultants and businessmen at a distance, said veteran trade leader Shahid Rasheed Butt. Talking to the business community, he said that the outcome of the amnesty scheme will not be different from the schemes announced earlier by various governments.

Shahid Rasheed Butt who has also served as President ICCI and Patron ICSTnoted that tax amnesty schemes have not added to the revenue is a satisfactory way nor these schemes have improved documentation of the economy.

The purpose of such schemes is to give a chance to tax evaders to whiten their money and join the taxpayers club but the majority of the tax evaders have preferred to remain out of the tax net because they consider it safe.

The schemes fail to achieve the objectives while it discourage the honest taxpayers which in turn add to the problems of the tax administration.

Such schemes should be aimed at encouraging people to play their part in economy in a legal manner for which it must be easier for the people to understand and avail. The policy of difference between filers and non-filers and punishing the later has remained more successful than the amnesty schemes but this policy was not without issues.

He said that amnesty schemes will remain counterproductive unless tax evaders believe that not availing the opportunity will result in severe punishment and confiscation of assets.

The amnesty scheme should be followed by strict action against tax evaders and they should be made an example otherwise such moves will remain wastage of time and money, he warned.

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