IMF follows FATF footsteps, voices opposition to amnesty scheme

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ISLAMABAD: Voicing concerns over the amnesty scheme being offered in Pakistan, International Monetary Fund said these schemes never achieved their stated objectives.

A report published by The News said queries were sent to the Washington-based lender regarding the recent tax amnesty scheme introduced by the government.

In response, the IMF’s mission chief for Pakistan Herald Finger in a written reply from Washington DC said taking cues from other countries and Pakistan where tax amnesties were offered repeatedly have tended to fail and achieve their stated objectives.

Mr. Finger added the amnesty scheme hurt the impression of fairness of the tax system and subsequent efforts to enhance tax compliance.

International donors like the World Bank and IMF had voiced opposition over the offering of an amnesty scheme and proposed in their policy advice to avoid indulging in such a contentious stuff since it would dishearten honest taxpayers.

Earlier, it was reported by Express Tribune Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in a letter addressed to the government had expressed worries over the recently introduced tax amnesty scheme and said it had not sought go-ahead from it

This tax amnesty scheme introduced by the government also faced stiff opposition from the Federal Board of Revenue, sources in the tax watchdog revealed.

The tax regulator had voiced concerns over offering amnesty on domestic assets and revisions in tax structure for individuals, Association of Persons (AOPs) and realty sector.

Also, Dr. Miftah Ismail Adviser to PM on Finance corroborated that FATF had expressed concerns over the tax amnesty scheme launched by the government on April 5th.

He added that the legal team had reaffirmed him that the tax amnesty scheme was in line with global standards on anti-money laundering and there was nothing to be worried about.