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President approved tax amnesty scheme

09 April, 2018

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President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday approved an ordinance bringing into effect a tax amnesty scheme announced by the government last week. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi unveiled a five-point tax reforms package on Thursday, which included a tax amnesty scheme for undeclared foreign and domestic assets, and reduction in income tax rates.

The prime minister launched the amnesty scheme and reforms package in what seems to be a last-ditch attempt at broadening the government’s revenue base, merely 55 days before the end of the government’s tenure.

Tax evasion is rampant in Pakistan, where only 1 percent of the adult population pays tax.

Announcing that all 120 million national identity card holders would be assigned tax numbers, Abbasi told a news conference in Islamabad: “If you don’t pay taxes, Pakistan will not be sustainable.”

He said that politically exposed persons (PEPs) and their families were not eligible to benefit from the scheme – valid till June 30.

“Under the amnesty plan, all Pakistanis will be able to declare their unreported income and assets and bring their money into the tax base after paying a 5 percent one-off penalty,” Abbasi said.

On Saturday, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail assuaged the concerns of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and assured the tax amnesty scheme did not violate money laundering laws. “Pakistan’s tax amnesty scheme adheres to all international anti-money laundering laws,” the adviser on finance had said.

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