FPCCI vows to support govt in drive against tax evaders

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ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday vowed to fully support the government in its crackdown on tax evaders, as doing that was imperative to broaden the tax base and document the economy.

In a statement issued by the chamber, FPCCI President Eng Daroo Khan Achakzai urged the business community to avail the government’s tax amnesty scheme by declaring their undisclosed assets by June 30, 2019, so that they could avoid any scrutiny in the future.

He said that the amnesty scheme would help put the economy on sound footings, besides lessening the burden on the existing taxpayers.

Achakzai noted that Pakistan was the 6th largest country in the world but hardly one per cent of the population was paying taxes.

“One per cent Pakistanis are bearing the burden of 220 million people. This is impossible,” he said. “No country can serve its people if tax evaders are not brought under the tax net.”

He said that the amnesty scheme launched in 1958 helped recover Rs1.12 billion from undeclared assets, followed by Rs920 million in 1968, Rs1.5 billion in 1976, Rs10 billion in 2000, Rs3.16 billion in 2008 and around Rs120 billion in 2018.

In comparison, he added, the amnesty scheme launched by Indonesia in 2016 had brought around 745,000 persons into the tax net and recovered over $330 billion from undeclared assets.

Meanwhile, United Business Group Chairman Iftikhar Malik reiterated that the government should follow the Indonesian model of amnesty scheme so as to extract maximum benefits for the economy, adding that the validity of the scheme up to 30th June 2019 was a very short period for its success.

He said increasing the tax base was imperative for provision of better economic and social services to people.

“Taxation and growth should go hand in hand, and it can only be done through a fair and transparent system, he remarked. “If the growth of business and economy will be choked, there will be no increase in tax collection.”

He said that the ratio of taxpayers in Pakistan was even less than Afghanistan, adding the broadening of tax net was the need of the hour as it was the only option for the country’s sustainability.

Malik said Pakistan needed an amnesty scheme because people had transferred their money abroad due to terrorism and poor law and order situation in the past.

“The law and order situation is now fully restored in the country and people can bring their money back by taking full advantage of the new scheme,” he added.

He urged the government to rectify all anomalies in the budget on top priority in order to promote ease of doing business in the country.