FBR swoops on unknown assets as amnesty scheme ends

  • FBR started a crackdown against unknown property holders and attached billions of rupees assets.
  • FBR targeted six properties owned by a PML-N lawmaker and other eight properties whose suspects belong to the Omni Group.
  • An Adjudicating Authority has been formed by the government and it can seize the unknown property and can award the accused rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years.
FBR swoops on unknown assets as amnesty scheme ends
FBR swoops on unknown assets as amnesty scheme ends

FBR has started crackdown against unknown property holders and attached billions of rupees assets

This has happened a day before the expiry of the government’s tax amnesty scheme that has been availed by 129,000 people.

These orders have been passed by ‘Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Zone-I Islamabad and Benami Zone-III Karachi’.

Previously, the FBR has attached 14 unknown properties worth billions of rupees. These were owned by people close to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP).

FBR targets unknown property holders:

FBR took action against unknown property holders in Karachi and Islamabad before the expiry of the tax amnesty scheme.

The FBR documents showed that eight properties belonging to the Omni Group have been provisionally attached. These are worth Rs2.5 billion.

These properties are in the names of:

  • Plaza Enterprises Pvt Limited
  • Marshal Homes Builders Developers
  • Nadeem Ahmad Khan

Six properties owned by a PML-N lawmaker, have been targeted by the Islamabad Zone. Whereas the Karachi Zone has attached eight properties and its suspects belong to the Omni Group.

Six stocks and shares have also been provisionally attached for three months. These are in the names of:

  • Al-Miftah Holding Private Limited
  • Sky Pak Holding Limited
  • Rising Star Holding Limited owned by Thatta Cement Company Limited
  • The Seracom Stock and Capital Private Limited
  • Parkview Stock Capital Limited

Provisionally attached properties in Rawalpindi:

The FBR provisionally attached six properties in Rawalpindi that belong to the PML-N lawmaker. According to the FBR’s official documents, these properties are held in the names of:

  • Muhammad Basharat
  • Raja Abdul Shakoor
  • Shah Jahan Begum
  • Azhar Ali
  • Abdul Aziz

Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 2017 had been passed by the previous PML-N government but its rules have been framed by the PTI government to make it operational.

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Before launching the crackdown, the government had offered tax amnesty scheme to the people at a 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 July 3.

“About 103,532 people have availed the tax amnesty scheme and 25,130 have filed the draft returns, bringing the total number to 128,662.” Chairman of FBR, ShabbarZaidi said.

The FBR has not yet determined the value of assets that have been whitened by these nearly 129,000 people.

The analysis of these assets will be released by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul HafeezShaikh on July 5.

Total declarations filed:

Nearly 80% were related to domestic assets and 20% foreign assets. The FBR’s initial estimates suggest that 90,000 non-filers have availed the tax amnesty scheme. Most of them are middle and upper-middle income group people.

FBR estimates that banking sector deposits have been improved as the last tax amnesty scheme had been availed by 83,000 people who paid Rs124 billion in taxes.

For the first time on the back of the tax amnesty scheme, the total income tax return filers have crossed 2 million.

FBR extends the date for filing income tax returns:

The FBR has extended the date for filing the income tax returns for the fiscal year 2017-18 to August 2.

This would allow the people to revise their previous returns by paying a 30% penalty as against the 4% tax that they paid under the amnesty scheme.

Govt established the Adjudicating Authority:

Under ‘Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 2017’, the government has established the Adjudicating Authority. It will be headed by Jamil Ahmed, a retired officer of Pakistan Administrative Service.

Other appointed members of the Adjudicating Authority are Muhammad Tanvir Akhtar, a retired Inland Revenue officer and KhaqanMurtaza, an officer of Pakistan Administrative Services who also has worked in an intelligence agency.

The properties have been attached for a period of three months. During this time, all the parties will have time to explain their positions before an adjudicating authority.

The accused will be given an opportunity to present their point of view. But if the Adjudicating Authority is unsatisfied with the replies of the accused, it can order to seize the property.

The accused will also have a right to appeal before an Appellate Tribunal. However, if the tribunal rejects the appeal then the authority will appeal before a high court within 2 months of issuing the orders.

In case the unknown ownership is established, the courts can award the accused rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years or a fine equal to 25% of the fair market value of the property.

 

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