The top court will take up for hearing on February 18 the chronic case of the Sharif family’s petitions against valuation of wealth tax on their shares in various companies.
The two-judge bench, consisting of Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Faisal Arab will take up the petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Kalsoom Nawaz , Hamza Shahbaz and others challenging the evaluation of their wealth tax.
The petitioners maintained that for four years, their wealth tax was assessed disproportionate to the market value of their stocks.
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Members of the Sharif family had challenged Rule 8 (2) (c) (1) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1963 in 2007, but the case could not be taken up during the era of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Malik Tariq Aziz Advocate while talking to The Express Tribune said that he is appearing on behalf of Sharif family in these cases for almost a decade.
Giving the background of the case he said that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif were directed by the Lahore tax commissioner to pay more than Rs10 million as wealth tax on the value of their business shares for financial years 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-2001 within the stipulated period.
The counsel said under this rule, the Income Tax Department took into account the face value of shares of non-registered companies and their market value and calculated the tax on whichever was higher.
By contrast, the shares of the companies listed on the stock exchange were taxed in accordance with the lower value. If the market value was higher, the tax was levied on face value and vice versa. The counsel submitted that this rule was discriminatory and violation not only of the parent law, the Wealth Tax Act of 1963, but also of Articles 4, 18, 24, 25, 141 and 142 of the Constitution.
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The petition stated that the valuation of their shares in 15 industries belonging to the family and others was repugnant to the Wealth Tax Act because it was calculated in excess of their face value and the market price.
It is further stated that the rule calculated shares of public limited companies less than the market value whereas in case of private limited companies, the criteria was altogether different.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2016.
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