After a single extension, the PTI government’s second amnesty scheme came to an end July 3 and with it the chance to declare any previously undeclared assets.
The FBR has closed its online portal and FBR Chairperson Shabbar Zaidi says they have the details of 110,000 people who have made use of the scheme. He believes this number will touch 135,000 because the cases of 25,000 people are still pending.
Last year, 84,000 people availed the amnesty scheme and the government gained Rs124 billion in revenue. So far, the FBR has collected Rs70 billion in taxes from people availing this year’s scheme.
FBR officials also say the number of tax return filers have increased. In 2017-18 1,733,000 people filed their tax returns and this year that has increased by 267,000 to cross the two million mark.
The government introduced the amnesty scheme because it wanted to document the economy and encourage more people to pay taxes. It also wants more people to file their tax returns, which is part of documenting the economy. It introduced the scheme despite the fact that the IMF said it wasn’t a fan.
Pakistan entered into a three-year programme with the IMF and has been making changes to its policies (like tax systems) to meet the IMF’s conditions. But the PTI government introduced the amnesty scheme anyway and urged Pakistanis to avail it.
The FBR has already begun taking action against benami (without a name) assets in the country. The penalty for owning benami assets is a maximum of seven years in jail and a hefty fine.