NA passes In­come Tax Amend­ment Bill 2016 amid op­po­si­tion protest

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

The Na­tional As­sem­bly on Thurs­day passed a bill fur­ther to amend the In­come Tax Or­di­nance, 2001 {The In­come Tax (Amend­ment) Bill, 2016}, amid strong protest, walk out and note of dis­sent by the op­po­si­tion. The bill was moved by Min­is­ter for Cli­mate Change Zahid Hamid on be­half of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Sen­a­tor Muham­mad Ishaq Dar.

Ac­cord­ing to state­ment of ob­jects and rea­sons of the bill, whereas a ma­jor seg­ment of na­tional econ­omy is un­doc­u­mented and a large num­ber of traders who are re­quired to file their in­come tax re­turns are ei­ther per­sis­tent non-fil­ers or are un­der­re­port­ing their in­come and are de­priv­ing the na­tional ex­che­quer of its due share.

It states, in view of the pre­vail­ing cul­ture of mas­sive non-re­port­ing and un­der­re­port­ing, it is ex­pe­di­ent to pro­vide a one­time op­por­tu­nity to the filer as well as non-filer to reg­u­lar­ize their tax affairs by adopt­ing a spe­cial and sim­pli­fied pro­ce­dure for as­sess­ment of their tax. Ac­cord­ing to note of dis­sent of the op­po­si­tion mem­bers, the scheme will be counter-pro­duc­tive to the ob­jec­tives of en­hanc­ing govern­ment rev­enue and will sent a wrong mes­sage to the hon­est and com­mit­ted tax pay­ers.

The amnesty at a highly dis­counted rate (one per­cent) is un­fair and un­just for the tax pay­ers who pay their tax hon­estly. "With­out FBR re­forms, the fun­da­men­tal rea­sons why this scheme is be­ing pro­posed will not change and we will face the same sit­u­a­tion in a cou­ple of years." Ear­lier, Op­po­si­tion Leader Sayed Khur­sheed Shah rais­ing ob­jec­tions over the bill said that it would shake con­fi­dence of the peo­ple. He said such schemes were also in­tro­duced in the past but were failed as they brought no re­lief to the peo­ple and the govern­ment.

PPP's Sayed Naveed Qa­mar, PTI's Shah Mah­mood Qureshi, JI's Sahibzada Tariq Ul­lah and MQM's Rasheed Go­dail also crit­i­cized the bill. Re­spond­ing to op­po­si­tion crit­i­cism, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Fi­nance, Rev­enue and Eco­nomic Affairs Rana Mo­ham­mad Afzal Khan said the credit went to the present govern­ment to bring traders into vol­un­tar­ily tax scheme.

He said in the past tax amnesty schemes were in­tro­duced for prof­i­teers, black mar­keters and smug­glers but there was no such waiver for th­ese peo­ple in this scheme. He said it would in­crease tax to GDP ra­tio and num­ber of tax pay­ers would be in­creased from seven hun­dred thou­sands to eleven hun­dred thou­sands. He said the FBR dur­ing the last two years col­lected 33 per­cent ex­tra tax. He said no waiver had been given in this scheme to black mar­keters, traders and smug­glers.

He said the govern­ment had taken all the traders and their bod­ies into con­fi­dence and took the de­ci­sion by ma­jor­ity. He said the scheme was be­ing in­tro­duced af­ter thor­ough dis­cus­sions with traders bod­ies and ex­perts.-

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