Over Rs. 65 Billion Collected in Latest Amnesty Scheme: FBR Chairman

The Asset Declaration Scheme 2019 has netted more than Rs. 65 billion in total declarations of over 140,000 properties till the deadline of the amnesty scheme. Earlier, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi had said that the declarations numbered 121,000 and an additional 25,000 were in the pipeline and over Rs. 60 billion had been paid in taxes.

Although, the tax collection for the last fiscal year 2018-2019 by FBR had failed to exceed the figure Rs. 3,842 billion as the tax collection in 2018-2019 stood at Rs. 3,832 billion.

When asked about why the FBR portal had crashed on the last day of the amnesty scheme, the Chairman said that the FBR had appealed to the people weeks ago about the scheme but it was habitual of them to complete the assigned task closer to the deadline. As for the expectations on the response of the people, he said the response had surpassed them. Most of those who availed the scheme were not in the tax system and overall, the response was encouraging as this was the 2nd such scheme in one year.

Another tax official while talking about the scheme said that that multiple objectives had been met including new filers and that the banking sector has seen its deposits increase substantially as reflected by data from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

On the other hand, SBP officials said that the foreign currency amount hadn’t increased much but will get the data from the concerned departments on how much the deposits rose during the amnesty scheme. They added that medium and small size businessmen availed this latest amnesty scheme.

Another top official said they had asked the ministers to not quote them on the results of the scheme as the ministers wanted to announce the results. Unlike the last scheme, where over Rs. 1 trillion was declared through the foreign amnesty scheme, this time around they didn’t amount to much. The last scheme had been availed by Benami holders as the board had briefed on the occasion of last scheme that Benami assets/income could also be regularized.

During the PML-N government, the last amnesty scheme was launched where over Rs. 2.5 trillion was declared in the form of black assets and income and over Rs. 124.8 billion was collected in taxes; 90 billion of this was collected in June 2018 and the rest in July 2018.

In the previous tax amnesty scheme, the government had received around 82,889 declarations amounting to Rs. 2,500 billion and of those, 1040 billion were foreign assets and 1,460 billion were domestic assets. Of the total decelerations, 5,929 were foreign and 76,960 were domestic as it fetched $436 million foreign currency.