President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Muffasar Atta Malik has advised the Federal Government to extend last date for Amnesty Scheme 2018 by at least one to two more months so that maximum number of individuals could benefit from this scheme with an attractive tax rate for declaration and repatriation of foreign assets.
In a statement issued, Muffasar Malik pointed out that so far, the Amnesty Scheme has not received the kind of response which was being expected probably due to holy month of Ramadan, which was followed by four consecutive holidays of Eid ul Fitr. “With hardly 9 days left and the last three days falling on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, those individuals intending to declare foreign assets under Amnesty Scheme will not be able to do so because of limited time. It is a well-known fact that Friday is a weekly holiday and Saturday is a half day in all GCC countries whereas Sunday is a weekly holiday in New York, USA therefore, the remittances simply cannot be processed during these three days”, he said.
In order to make the Amnesty Scheme result-oriented, the government will have to extend the last date for at least one to two more months, he stressed, adding that this scheme would prove futile and all the efforts along with resources would be wasted if the offer under Amnesty Scheme actually ends on June 30, 2018, he added.
President KCCI was of the opinion that political uncertainty due to forthcoming general elections has also discouraged many individuals to benefit from the Amnesty Scheme announced by the previous government. Most of the potential taxpayers, who want to benefit from the scheme, were on a ‘wait & watch’ mode as the Honorable Supreme Court was reviewing the scheme and has recently given green signal to it.
Highlighting some anomalies in the procedure for depositing tax and repatriating foreign assets, President KCCI referred to State Bank’s relevant notification which defines the entire procedure for deposit of tax on, and repatriation of liquid assets under Foreign Assets (Declaration and Repatriation) Ordinance 2018 in which taxpayers have been advised to electronically fill Form ‘A’ at FBR’s portal and generate PSID for payment of tax due on foreign assets which has to be paid on same day. However, this was not possible within a day particularly in a situation when a taxpayer from Dubai uses Telegraphic Transfer (TT) which usually completes the other day, he noted, adding that this anomaly in the tax payment procedure under Amnesty Scheme needs to be addressed.
Muffasar Malik further pointed out that taxpayers have been further advised that after remitting funds to SBP’s account, they should electronically send a copy of wire transfer or swift message, bearing specification of CNIC/ NTN of the taxpayer in field 72, which was practically not possible in case the taxpayer is not a bank accountholder abroad.
Muffasar Malik reiterated that the much-hyped Tax Amnesty Scheme seems to be failing so far to attract repatriation of the expected billions of dollars therefore, the duration should be extended.
He hoped that the interim government, which is facing difficulties in reducing more pressure on dwindling foreign exchange reserves, would review the entire situation and accordingly announce the extension in last date of the Amnesty Scheme. “The caretaker government can extend the period from June 30 to next couple of months as the scheme is now part of the Finance Bill. In financial matters the interim government, as per our understanding, enjoys powers to take major decisions”, he added.
President KCCI urged Honorable President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Excellency Mamnoon Hussain to take cognizance of the situation and issue necessary Presidential Order to extend the Amnesty Scheme.