Traders want legislation to bring back robbed money


Traders on Saturday expressed shock that the government is considering another scheme to offer amnesty to tax evaders instead of introducing asset seizure legislatures to confiscate untaxed assets and bringing back looted money parked in Swiss banks.
The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiraan has written a letter to FBR chairman, conveying strong reservations on another amnesty scheme being contemplated by the government. APAT Central General secretary Naeem Mir said that in its letter to FBR, the traders have expressed dismay on the ever-shrinking honest taxpayers’ base in Pakistan, representing key stakeholders in the economy.
He said that APAT believes that tax amnesty and money-whitening schemes are acts of betrayal and cheating the honest taxpayers and the nation.
“We want to remind the government of its solemn promise made to the Parliament in 2008 that after Tax Investment Scheme it would not introduce any more amnesty schemes,” he said.
He further said that amnesty schemes should not be used as a measure to raise revenue as these discourage taxpayers and create distrust in state institutions. With this scheme, the ruling parties will bring back the looted assets to manipulate the upcoming general elections, as amnesty schemes reflect defeatism and do not curb tax evasion. Instead, they only serve to encourage it.
Moreover, he said that tax amnesty scheme protects tax evaders as they get untaxed money whitened by paying just extra 1. 5% to 3% to any money exchange dealer to get remittance in their names.
He claimed that this section has been abused by Pakistani tax dodgers to launder their untaxed money through state patronage. Moreover, he said that under all the tax amnesty schemes, government failed to collect even a fraction of the black money.
He used the example of India for the Pakistani government to learn from. In India, he said, when the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme 1997 was announced, the civil society strongly objected to the same and urged the government to drop the proposal.
He said that APAT believes that regular announcements of amnesty schemes results in high-income earners continuing to operate outside the tax net, biding their time until the next “amnesty”. This results in an obvious disadvantage to law abiding, ethical tax payers, he said.
He stressed that APAT strongly reaffirms its consistent position for systematically broadening the tax net; taxing all segments of the economy and opposing tax amnesties in any form or shape.