LAHORE: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is all set to serve notices to those rich people who mentioned gifts as assets in their wealth/income statements, Pakistan Today has reliably learnt.
During investigations conducted by FBR’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) cell in 2016, it identified around 2,785 rich individuals who had mentioned in the gift section of their income statements to be holding assets worth millions of rupees.
This probe also revealed that a sum of Rs 102 billion was allegedly money laundered by these 2,785 individuals though exchange of gifts. It is pertinent to mention here that according to Pakistan’s tax laws, gifts are exempted from taxes.
An official who was privy to the development informed Pakistan Today that a large number of such rich individuals were presently living in Pakistan, adding that they were using this option while transferring their assets abroad to avoid falling into the tax net.
He said that a large number of rich individuals paid nominal amounts of taxes while possessing assets worth billions of rupees, adding that the source of income of such individuals remained unclear in official documents.
The official revealed that a couple of months ago, FBR had decided to serve notices to rich individuals asking them to provide details of their assets. He said, “All the Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) across the country have now started serving notices under section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance (ITO) 2001, after receiving directions from the headquarters.” He added that during this process the FBR would not just probe the financial history of the donee, but would also request income details of the donor.
“According to the notices, FBR has asked the respondents to provide details of the copies of gift deeds and means of donating gifts. It also asked respondents to provide the details of assets held by a donor,” he said, while adding that after receiving the required detail, FBR would be able to verify the assets.
However, the official said that initially these notices were being served to those people who have received gifts.
Among these 2,785 individuals, three tax payers have mentioned to have received gifts worth rupees one billion, eight tax payers mentioned receiving gifts worth Rs 500 million, 50 received gifts valued between Rs 200 million to Rs 500 million, while 97 persons received gifts worth Rs 100 million to Rs 200 million.
According to FBR documents, around 2,348 individuals declared to have received gifts worth Rs 10 million to Rs 50 million.
Among the people who were served with notices by the FBR, the name of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif is worth mentioning. The wealth statement submitted by the former premier mentioned that he received gifts worth Rs 1.07 billion.
The official further informed that FBR would verify the financial position of donors and their sources of income. It would also verify whether the donor actually possessed enough legal assets that allowed him/her to donate expensive gifts.
He said that if the donee and donor failed to establish their financial position, then it would be considered as tax evasion and criminal references would be filed against them under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.