Tightening the noose around corrupt: FBR’s enhanced power to raid

Daily Times

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to empower the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct raids at the premises of those who are allegedly involved in storing undeclared gold, jewelry, and foreign currencies and bearer securities.
For this purpose, the government has proposed several amendments to Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through Finance Bill 2019. The amendments introduce various changes to the legal framework governing tax evaders, absconders, abettors, officials and individuals involved in malpractices.FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi confirmed that by amending the law, the body is being given the powers to carry out raids to confiscate illegal currency, undeclared gold and bearers securities.
To tighten the noose around the corrupt, the government via Finance Bill 2019 has introduced a new sub clause which gives the commissioner land revenue powers to conduct raids and search the premises for ‘illegal assets’. The amendments are in line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and will be made part of the Finance Act 2019 after approval from the parliament.
The FBR chairman also said that the last date of tax amnesty scheme will not be extended. “It’s final,” said Zaidi. He said that the tax amnesty scheme beneficiaries will still have a choice to pay taxes after June 30 but the returns will have to be filed by June 30. The chairman said that from July 1 country will be into a new phase, referring to the IMF programme. The IMF is against extending the tax amnesty scheme beyond June 30.
Zaidi said that the FBR has gathered data that was not as unreliable as people had thought. He said that banks and power ministry have given access to their databases, providing information about those who do not file their income tax returns.

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