FBR collects data of 96,000 Pakistanis with foreign accounts: NA told

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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Friday informed the National Assembly that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had collected data of 96,000 Pakistanis having bank accounts abroad.

During Question Hour, he said, “We have collected the data of 96,000 account holders from abroad and the government is determined to take action on it.”

Opposition member Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali had asked the minister to tell the assembly the “reasons for not taking any action” against the Pakistani citizens who were named in the Panama Papers.

A total of 444 Pakistanis had been named in the Panama Papers for allegedly owning offshore assets.

Hamad Azhar said that the field offices had so far issued notices to 294 people under “relevant section” of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001. About 150 people could not be traced due to “incomplete particulars”, while 12 people were no longer alive, the minister disclosed.

He further said that audit proceedings had been finalized in 15 cases and the remaining 36 cases were being heard, while 242 cases were being “pursued for initiating proceedings”. He said that a demand of Rs10.9 billion had been created in 15 cases out of which Rs6.2 billion have been recovered.

In a written reply, the finance ministry said the government was committed to the institutional development of FBR, adding that the government is taking measures to enhance the capacity of FBR to collect revenue and make it an agency which provides fair and justice treatment to the taxpayers.