Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh
Sindhsamaachar Monitoring Desk
ISLAMABAD: The prime minister’s adviser on finance, Dr Hafeez Sheikh, rejected the design of the recently proposed tax amnesty scheme on Sunday, raising objections over the classification of assets and tax rates marking a clear departure from the policies of his predecessor, Asad Umar . In his first meeting with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Sheikh asked the tax officials to come up with a more simplified version of the scheme.
He turned down the proposal to introduce six types of tax rates for various categories of assets, a finance ministry official told. Instead, Sheikh asked FBR officials to reduce the tax classifications to only two which means that the Benami assets that would have attracted the highest rates under Umar’s model may now be cleared at the same rate set for other domestic assets.
Unlike Umar, Sheikh also did not rule out the possibility of more tax amnesty schemes in the future, the official said.
Hafeez Sheikh acknowledged the need for offering a tax amnesty scheme because of the problems arising out of the enactment of the Benami Assets Prohibition Act. However, he asked the FBR to focus more on the budget than spending too much energy on the amnesty scheme.
According to a handout issued by the finance ministry, the adviser “reviewed the proposed Assets Declaration Scheme 2019 in detail with FBR officials and instructed them to fine-tune the scheme to make it simple to understand and easy to implement.”
The discussion focused on the scope and the features of the scheme.
The objective of the scheme should be to make the economy more tax compliant and documented, Sheikh told the officials.