FBR seeks report on benami scheme from departments

Documents reveal billions of rupees worth properties surfaced during last amnesty scheme


​ Our Correspondent August 07, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A large number of people holding Benami properties and assets worth billions of rupees have benefited from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s tax amnesty scheme that ended on July 3, official documents reveal.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sought from all the subordinate departments detailed reports about people who availed the amnesty scheme; the cases that were closed after recovery of taxes award of penalties and the cases sent for filing of references.

Commissioner Inland Revenue, benami zone II Lahore, Khalid Khan has sent a report about five under investigation benami cases as well as the wrapped up cases to FBR Headquarters.

The last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had enacted Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 2017 but its rules were framed by the PTI government about five months ago to make it operational.

Before launching the crackdown, the government had offered tax amnesty scheme to the people at very low rate of 1.5% to 4%. The scheme, which was originally planned to end on June 30, was extended for three days and ended on June 3.

“As many as 103,532 people availed the scheme and another 25,130 filed the draft returns, bringing the total number to 128,662,” the FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi had said after completion of the scheme. He said the number could touch nearly 135,000. These people had paid around Rs60 billion in taxes.

Out of the total declarations filed, nearly 80% were related to domestic assets and 20% foreign assets. The FBR’s initial estimates suggested that about 90,000 non-filers availed the scheme and most of them were middle and upper-middle income group people.

The FBR expected that due to the condition of depositing cash in the bank accounts the banking sector deposits would improve. The last tax amnesty scheme had been availed by 83,000 people who paid Rs124 billion in taxes.

On back of tax amnesty scheme, the total income tax return filers have crossed 2 million – for the first time. In the last ten days of June, nearly 95,000 income tax returns were filed.

The FBR had taken action against Benamidars in Karachi and Islamabad a day before the expiry of the tax amnesty scheme. The provisional orders to attach the properties were issued on June 3.

The FBR documents showed that eight properties allegedly belonging to the Omni Group had been provisionally attached. Their value was estimated at Rs2.5 billion. These properties were in the names of Plaza Enterprises Pvt Limited, Marshal Homes Builders Developers and Nadeem Ahmad Khan.

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