LAHORE - An extension in Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018, coupled with awareness campaign, would help highest number of business to avail full benefit of this good initiative by the previous regime. This scheme is beneficial for both the government and the business community as it would help promote documented economy besides giving business doing people an opportunity to legalize their undeclared assets.

This was crux of the speeches delivered by the LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Vice President Zeshan Khalil, Commissioner Inland Revenue Aisha Imran Butt and other experts at a seminar on "Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018", jointly organised by the LCCI and Federal Board of Revenue, at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 would relieve pressure on the economy as it would generate additional revenue for the government while businessmen can declare their assets or income and they cannot be asked about their source. He said that reasonable extension in Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 would enhance the chances of its success as businessmen would get more time to understand.

"We have always demanded for broadening the tax net and lowering down the tax rate. We expect that this Tax Amnesty Scheme will go a long way in achieving the desired results. The scheme would help broadening the tax net and would reduce the burden from the existing taxpayers. It is a matter of concern that just around 1.2 million income tax return filers in a country of more than 200 million people that's why Tax-to-GDP ratio in Pakistan is poor", the LCCI president added.

Malik Tahir said that the last Tax Amnesty Scheme was announced in 2015 and more or less seven hundred thousand individuals benefitted from it.

The new scheme is better than the previous one because this time the government has lowered down the rate of tax so that maximum number of people could take full advantage of it. Now, such individuals who keep undeclared assets in the form of cash, prize bonds, cars and property etc. may avail this terrific facility. By paying tax from 2 percent to 5 percent maximum, all these undeclared assets can be legalized.

He said that this scheme also covers the foreign bank accounts as well as such immoveable assets which have been kept abroad and never declared. This scheme also guarantees that the benefiters upto a certain limit would not be questioned about declaring the source of income.

Commissioner Inland Revenue Aisha Imran Butt said that all possible measures are being taken to make amnesty scheme a success. She briefed the participants about the Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 and other relevant affairs.

The LCCI Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that this golden opportunity must be availed by the business community and they should give legal status to their undeclared assets by paying 2 to 5 percent tax only. Income tax has been reduced to make tax payment more sustainable.

He said that under the Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018, Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number has been given the status of National Tax Number. People will now be able to use their CNIC number to file taxes by simply filling out a form. People having income upto Rs1.2 million annually have been given tax exemption. The previous maximum income exempt from income tax was Rs400,000 only. People who make between Rs1.2m to Rs2.4m annually will be liable to pay five per cent in income tax, he added.