ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's amnesty scheme is meant to bring the undeclared assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries under the tax net and it is also an opportunity of those who cannot declare how they bought these assets.

Scheme applicable only to Pakistani residents obliged to register under the country's law and pay tax on purchase of foreign assets. All Pakistani nationals residing in their home country and who bought assets abroad now have less than a week to declare their moveable and immovable assets to benefit from the tax amnesty scheme, senior government officials said in Dubai on Thursday, Khaleej Times reported.

Addressing the media in Dubai, Talha Aziz, staff officer to the chairperson of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), said this scheme is applicable only to those Pakistani residents who are obliged to register under the country's law and pay tax on the purchase of foreign assets.

However, those Pakistani nationals who are living and working abroad - such as those in the UAE, the GCC, the United States and other European countries - need not submit details because they earned the money and bought assets abroad. Therefore, they are out of the scope of this amnesty scheme.

This amnesty scheme is meant to bring the undeclared assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries under the tax net and it is also an opportunity of those who cannot declare how they bought these assets.

Aziz said Pakistanis will not be questioned about how they bought these assets and where they earned the income from. But he warned that penalty will be imposed on those who will declare their assets after the expiration of the amnesty scheme on July 31.

"It is a lucrative scheme with lowest tax rates of just 2 to 5 per cent, depending on the nature of the assets. You will be in the records of the FBR and no one will question you about your assets and income," Aziz said, adding that "it has two key features: one is that all declaration will be confidential and secondly people will not have to pay any other taxes upon the declaration of these foreign assets."

He revealed that this initiative has been taken by parliament and also has the backing of the Supreme Court. Hence, no one can question the declaration and it cannot be challenged in any court.

He, however, warned that international environment is changing and since Pakistan is a signatory to the OECD's information sharing agreement, the FBR will receive details of assets.

Bought by Pakistanis in foreign countries such as the UAE, Canada, UK, etc, from next year.

More than 100 countries have signed the agreement and all the information will be shared electronically, Aziz added.

Aziz said Pakistani nationals can submit details about their foreign assets through the FBR's website. "All the details are available on FBR's website. The form is very simple and people will not have to submit any documents but only the value of the asset, for instance, where it is located and few more points. Once you will fill the form on FBR website, you will come to know how much you have to pay the tax," he added.

Qadir Bakhsh, additional director at State Bank of Pakistan, said tax payment under this amnesty scheme can be channelled through any bank into the central bank's account. The payment can be made only in the US currency.

"Tax liability will be filed in US dollars and the amount will be sent through banking channels into SBP accounts. Then an electronic receipt will be issued by SBP." He advised people to check with the bank when making payment because some banks deduct certain amounts as service charges.