The cash-strapped Pakistan government on Tuesday unveiled a new amnesty scheme to broaden the tax net and bring unaccounted wealth into the mainstream, days after striking a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a USD 6 billion bailout package.
Adviser to the prime minister on finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh made the announcement during a press briefing on the Asset Declaration Scheme after it was approved by the Cabinet chaired by premier Imran Khan.
The scheme is a limited-time opportunity for taxpayers to declare their assets and pay a defined amount in exchange for forgiveness of a tax liability, without fear of criminal prosecution, The Express Tribune reported.
Shaikh said that everyone, except public office holders, can avail the scheme by June 30 by declaring their undeclared assets, that would include possessions in Pakistan as well as abroad.
“The basic purpose of the scheme is not to generate revenue, but to document the economy and to bring dead assets into the economy and make them functional,” he added.
He said the value for real estate assets will be considered 1.5 times higher than the value assigned by the Federal Board of Revenue and taxed to whiten it.
Those having money accumulated abroad should pay tax at the rate of 4% if they want to bring it to the country, while those interested to keep the money abroad can do it by paying the duty at the rate of 6%.
However, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, whose government too had announced a similar amnesty, criticised the initiative, saying Khan was taking a U-turn on his each and every commitment.
As an opposition leader, he was critical of amnesty schemes but now his government had offered a similar plan, Abbasi said.
The new scheme was announced after Pakistan and IMF agreed on a USD 6 billion bailout package on Saturday to tide over the financial crisis.