Alarmingly, less than 250 Pakistanis have availed the new tax amnesty scheme so far.
According to a report by a local English newspaper, around 250 Pakistanis have paid a paltry sum of about Rs. 450 million in taxes despite a personal appeal by Prime Minister Imran Khan through his televised address.
The sources stated that results were extremely poor and people did not respond to the personal appeal made by the Prime Minister and the campaign launched by the FBR.
The depressing numbers have forced the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to keep the figures away from parliamentarians and the federal cabinet. The FBR has promised to share details with the federal cabinet next week.
The cabinet and the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance separately took up the progress on PM Imran’s black asset legalizing scheme.
The report stated that Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar was hopeful the scheme would start getting a good response from next week as he was receiving encouraging feedback from tax bars and Regional Tax Offices.
The asset legalizing scheme will expire on June 30. FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi categorically told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday that the scheme would not be extended beyond June 30 due to the start of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout program from July.
“Generally, people tend to opt for the tax amnesty scheme in the last week,” said Zaidi, while responding to a question raised by a member of the NA standing committee.
Zaidi said that the FBR had not set any tax collection targets in the budget from the amnesty scheme. He refused to disclose results of the amnesty scheme despite being repeatedly asked by members of the committee.
FBR spokesman Dr. Hamid Atiq Sarwar refused to reveal the outcome of the tax amnesty scheme, saying the figures had been kept confidential. He did not give the reason for keeping the results a secret, said the report.
Moreover, there is no legal bar to keep the outcome secret, although the FBR cannot disclose the names of beneficiaries.
The previous tax amnesty scheme, launched by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, remained largely successful when over 84,000 people legalized around Rs. 2.4 trillion in black assets by paying Rs. 124 billion in taxes.