FBR directed to disclose details of amnesty scheme beneficiaries

Tax authority’s refusal to share details challenged in PIC


Irshad Ansari May 23, 2022
Federal Board of Revenue. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:

The Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has directed the Federal Board of Revenue’s chairman to provide information about the individuals and companies who reaped benefits from the amnesty scheme given during the tenure of former premier Nawaz Sharif.

The order came after a citizen named Waheed Shahzad Butt lodged a complaint against the FBR’s chief, alleging that the agency was trying to hide crucial information solely to “provide egregious benefits to tax criminals of the nation”.

The citizen had also previously approached Lahore High Court (LHC) and Federal Tax Ombudsman seeking disclosure of information pertaining to companies and persons who availed the clause 86 of Second Schedule to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 and the amount introduced under it.

The appellant stated that he had submitted information requests to the FBR chairman on March 5, 2018. He added that the introduction of any tax amnesty scheme for tax evaders was “nothing but the height of immorality fully sponsored by the state”.

The government, instead of entertaining any such scheme, should seriously consider introducing an “asset-seizure scheme to confiscate undeclared and untaxed assets created from black money,” he contended and stressed the need for laws to bring back “looted money from tax cheaters”.

However, the tax authority rejected the request of the applicant due to prohibition under section 216 of the Ordinance, 2021.

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