ISLAMABAD - FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi on Saturday said that the government is not extending the tax amnesty scheme, which is expiring today (Sunday).

“Deadline for the Assets Declaration Scheme will not be extended,” said the chief of the Federal Board of Revenue, and urged the people to declare their hidden assets. The FBR offices would remain open today (last day of scheme), he added.

The scheme for whitening the black money, through declaration of undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets - including foreign assets - at nominal tax rates, has so far failed to generate desired results, the officials said.

And, the business community across the country is demanding the government extend the deadline of the scheme until September, at the least.

There will be no extension in Assets Declaration Scheme, declares FBR chairman

But the government won’t extend the time limit because it fears the International Monetary Fund might not approve the loan programme for Pakistan as the international lender is not in favour of tax amnesties.

“Cross country experience shows tax amnesties have usually huge costs, such as undermining taxpayers’ moral and sense of fairness that more than offsets the potential short term gains,” IMF’s country representative to Pakistan Teresa Daban Sanchez said on Friday.

Sources in the FBR informed that government is not extending the scheme due to the scheduled executive board meeting of the IMF on July 3 to consider Pakistan’s $6 billion bailout package.

Another senior official informed that government could not extend the scheme without legislative support.

The Parliament has already granted its approval to the scheme as part of the Finance Bill 2019 so this scheme under the law would expire on June 30. “We will have to issue Presidential Ordinance to extend the scheme,” he added.

Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar last week clarified that this was the first and last tax amnesty scheme of the incumbent government. He also made it clear that scheme would not be extended beyond June 30.

The people those who would not avail the scheme would be unlucky, as the government would initiate action against them under the laws, he added.

The minister also said the government would increase the tax to GDP ratio by 3-4 percent in next three years by bringing non-taxpayers into tax next. He said that scheme had not been introduced to generate revenues but to broaden the tax base of the country.

The government had already finalized rules for Benami Act, which would be used against those who would not declare their assets after the scheme, the minister warned. The government could seize the Benami properties.

Hammad said that government had integrated the data of non-taxpayers from various sources. Similarly, the government had received the information of 152,000 offshore companies in 28 countries. The country would receive further information regarding offshore companies from 10 other countries in next few months, he added.