LAHORE - Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha has said Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 is last chance to legalise undeclared assets therefore it must be availed by the business community.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Chairman FBR urged the business community to avail benefits of Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 as it is a last chance to legalize undeclared assets.  He said that it would increase tax revenue, enhance foreign exchange reserves, reduce the current account deficit, improve balance of payments, bring foreign capital to Pakistan and enhance economic activities.

The FBR chairman said that business community is the major part of economic system and it should be given respect and honor by the tax collection machinery. He said that issues of refunds are being resolved swiftly.  He said that this year Sales Tax Refunds of Rs102 billion have been paid against Rs54 billion in last year. He said that the issue of Sales Tax Refunds will be abolished within two years. Because of lack of resource, collective payment of Income Tax and Sales Tax Refunds is not possible but definitely there is a good improvement. About alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism, Tariq Mahmood Pasha said that the list will be prepared by FBR while representatives will be chosen by the business community and all stakeholders will be bound to accept the decision of the committee.

He said that repeated audit were causing difficulties for the business community but now only one audit will be held in three years. This move will help get rid of the misuse of discretionary powers by the tax machinery. He said that Regulatory Duty has been reduced or abolished on various items in the recent budget. He said that import of those items should be discouraged that are being produced locally.

LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that the chamber welcomes Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018 which allows legalizing undeclared assets by paying income tax from 2 percent to 5 percent. The government should extend its deadline for at least one month. He said that the policy of imposing regulatory duties even on the items which are not produced locally has made local production unviable.

There should be no regulatory duty on raw materials which are not available in Pakistan.

The LCCI president said that there are different rates of sales tax for traders, manufacturers and commercial importers etc., which creates certain ambiguities. We propose that there should be uniform percentage of sales tax for all.

He said that there is a dire need of harmonization among the provincial and federal tax collecting agencies. Due to double taxation, the members of business community face a lot of issues.

He said that the number of taxes and frequency of paying taxes should be reduced. The system of the tax department should be reformed to encourage the new tax payers.

He said that withholding tax on cash withdrawal was fully opposed by Lahore Chamber and it should abolished on emergent basis.