Economists, businessmen divided over tax amnesty scheme

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  • Dr Ashfaq Hassan says the government has announced amnesty scheme to ‘please someone special’
  • Former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood says the scheme would face litigation issues 

ISLAMABAD: The economists and businessmen are divided over fourth tax amnesty scheme of the government. Some say that the upper house of parliament and court can reject this scheme as the government will issue the ordinance in this regard while others say that people can whiten up to $1billion to $1.5 billion black money under this scheme.

Prominent financial expert Dr Ashfaq Hassan while talking to Pakistan Today stated that the government has announced amnesty scheme to get benefit in upcoming elections. This scheme was for some individual whereas no ordinary person could get benefit because they did not have any property abroad.

He further said that incumbent government had announced three different schemes but all of them failed. Under this tax reform package, the government has increased the individual tax from Rs 0.4 million to Rs 1.2 million. ‘Someone tell us that how many of tax filers, the Tax Department will lose because salaried class persons were paying tax to FBR’.

‘In addition to this, the non-filers cannot purchase the land over Rs 4 million, the former advisor stated that PM does not know that property comes in the domain of provinces how can the Tax Department interfere in the provincial matters’.

Hassan said that government could not announce the coming budget as they did not have authority to announce six budgets. ‘If the government will announce, it would be un-ethical act furthermore, they will implement this scheme through ordinance.

Pakistan Businessmen Intellectual Forum President Dr Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan needed this type of amnesty scheme because due to law and order situation, people transferred their money abroad. ‘It’s a good chance for them to whiten the black money’. The foreign countries are also checking stiff law against those people who purchased property in their countries, he added.

He further stated that government was expecting that people will declare up to three to four billion dollars through this scheme. The proposals regarding the tax individual is also welcoming, the salaried class will surely get benefit from them.

‘Regarding the government proposal to bar non-filers from purchasing land over Rs 4 million is a good move as more people will came into tax net overall the amnesty scheme is good for country’, he added.

Former finance secretary Dr Waqar Masood said that the scheme would have litigation issues because this would be implemented through ordinance. The Lahore High Court in recent past has null and void the government decision to give relief to industrial sector, he added. This scheme would be rejected in Senate as the government did not have any majority.

He further said that government has announced to increase the individual tax rate from Rs 0.4 million to Rs 1.2 million, it was a bad thing many people will go out from government tax net furthermore, Dr waqar Masood said that PM was talking about to bring the money through this scheme but he was saying that more people would come into net. ‘I am waiting the detailed draft of this scheme than it would be clear what can government gain from this scheme.