ISLAMABAD - Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha on Wednesday has urged upon the business community to take full advantage of tax amnesty scheme as it was a last chance to legalise undeclared assets.

He made these remarks during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that the amnesty scheme was focused on business community as public office holders and their dependents were kept out of it, therefore, they should take maximum benefit from it.

He said that Pakistan has signed a multinational convention that would provide it access to its citizens in 102 countries from 1st September 2018 and it was a good chance for Pakistanis to bring their foreign assets to Pakistan or whiten their undeclared foreign assets by paying a nominal tax rate.

He said that tax laws in the world were being changed due to which it would become more difficult for Pakistanis to hide their assets in foreign countries.

He said that amnesty scheme was passed by the parliament and therefore, it was difficult to extend it.

Highlighting the benefits of amnesty scheme, Pasha said that it would improve tax revenue of the country, enhance forex reserves, reduce current account deficit, improve balance of payments, bring foreign capital to Pakistan and would generate more economic activities.

He said that due to inefficiency of FBR, untaxed money went out of Pakistan. However, he said that the new tax laws across the world would squeeze space for tax evaders and Pakistanis have better opportunity to declare untaxed assets by taking benefit of amnesty scheme. He said that by declaring hidden assets by 30th June 2018, taxpayers would also be facilitated in filing tax returns of this financial year.

He assured that FBR would fully cooperate with business community in taking benefit of amnesty scheme.

Speaking at the occasion, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Amir Waheed said that business community was considering amnesty scheme as a positive development as it would be beneficial both for the beneficiaries and the government.

He stressed that the amnesty scheme should be extended at least for one month to facilitate the beneficiaries.  He said that some political parties had shown reservations on amnesty scheme and had announced that they would review it if came to power after elections. He said such reservations should be removed so that potential beneficiaries could take benefit of it without any hesitation.

He said that those who have received show cause notices from FBR or whose cases were pending before Commissioner Appeals should be allowed to avail amnesty scheme.

He emphasized that sitting ICCI president should be included in FBR Board to safeguard the interests of business community in FBR decisions.