By Our Staff Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday hinted at a crackdown against tax evaders after the deadline, June 30, and said that no leniency would be showed once the date is passed. A meeting was held at Prime Minister’s Bani Gala residence which had Finance Adviser Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi, amongst others, in attendance, reported Radio Pakistan.
Reportedly, the meeting discussed the upcoming budget which will be presented on June 11. The FBR chairman also briefed the premier on the tax amnesty scheme. Azhar briefed the meeting on the extension in the date of tax returns and tax revenue.
The premier expressed displeasure over failure in widening the tax net and inquired about steps being taken to bring big fishes under the tax net. He was told that all the state institutions are “with the government to bring evaders into taxation net”.
FBR seeks data of bank accounts of Rs500,000 or more
Whether under pressure of Financial Action Task Force to make assets declaration amnesty scheme, the government has finally decided to properly handle benami bank accounts and transactions as well as properties.
In first concrete step, The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has asked all commercial banks to write a letter to account holders whose deposits are Rs500,000 or more and make it sure that these accounts are not benami accounts. Sample of this letter has also been drafted by FBR which would be written to all account holders. Geo News is in possession of this letter. Banks have been directed to provide the date of withholding tax deducted from accounts of clients who are not filing income tax returns.
These directions were issued after the marathon meeting of Chairman FBR with Chief Financial Officers of all commercial banks. As per detail of the meeting minutes sent to banks, Chairman FBR emphasised that in the backdrop of FATF requirements it is imperative that banks must with the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements and help their customers.
Banks are also directed to provide the data of withholding taxes in the first stage. FBR ensured banks that confidentiality of the highest level in handling and managing such information and data will be maintained. As agreed, banks will provide the date of withholding taxes from January 2018 to onwards with CNICs of the withholders to FBR by June 17, 2019.
Further, Chairman FBR sensitizing the emerging scenario in the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017 said such business cannot continue as usual and we have to act fast in accordance with needs of the country. The banks should act fast without causing any problem/panic/disturbance for their customers, the letter stated.
The FBR has also highlighted that the Assets Declaration Scheme 2019 was a window of opportunity through which problems could be addressed effectively.