FBR initiates proceedings against citizens who failed to declare benami assets

Dawn

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has initiated proceedings against citizens who failed to declare their benami properties under the Assets Declarations Scheme, which expired on Wednesday.
The scheme, which was rolled out on May 14, was supposed to end on June 30. However, the government had decided to extend the deadline to July 3.
Also read: Extension in FBR’s amnesty scheme ends today
The government had on Monday announced the establishment of three major zones — Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad — and 11 sub-zones for adjudicating authorities to deal with benami properties as required under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2017.
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Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had announced on Sunday the creation of an adjudicating authority as an umbrella and creation of three zones of Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi to go after those not declaring their undisclosed assets and properties.
The FBR will seize the assets of any citizen who failed to declare them under the government’s Assets Declaration Scheme from now on, after the expiration of the declaration scheme.
In May, the government had announced its tax amnesty scheme entitled Asset Declaration Scheme. The scheme was aimed at bringing dead assets into the economy and make them functional.
Under the scheme, assets within the country and abroad [except for real estate] could be whitened after paying a rate of 4 per cent. The whitened cash assets would have to be kept in Pakistani bank accounts. For people wanting to keep their whitened money abroad, a rate of 6pc was charged.
For the declaration of real estate, its value was considered 1.5 times more than the FBR-assigned value to bring it at par with the market rate.
The amnesty scheme also had the facility for citizens to whiten their benami accounts and properties.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, while announcing the scheme, had said that the philosophy behind the plan was not to “intimidate” people but to encourage businessmen to participate in the legal economy. Every Pakistani citizen was able to avail the scheme except for people who had held a public office and their dependents.

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