ISLAMABAD: Without disclosing any possibility of a new amnesty scheme to legalise smuggled cars, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) announced launching a major crackdown against showrooms and warehouses selling non-duty paid smuggled vehicles.
This was stated by the FBR Member Customs (Policy), Syed Hamid Ali, before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, here on Thursday, after severe criticism from parliamentarians on the growing menace of smuggling of vehicles across the country.
Members of the committee were shocked over the business of selling of non-duty paid cars through websites and social media.
Chairman of the committee Faizullah asked the FBR what action has been taken against big showrooms and warehouses openly selling smuggled vehicles.
The FBR Member Customs (Policy) stated that the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has taken an own motion notice on multiple complaints regarding auction/registration of non-duty paid vehicles on forged/fake customs document by the provincial excise and motor registration authorities.
The FBR has requested all the provincial secretaries of Excise and Taxation to provide requisite records of registration of the luxury vehicles (2000cc and above) for completion of the verification exercise.
Out of 819 auctioned vehicles, data of 338 have been verified and 481 are yet to be verified.
When a committee member asked about the launching of a new amnesty scheme, the FBR chairman and the FBR member customs remained mum on the issue.
The FBR Member Customs Policy also disclosed that the new anti-smuggling powers obtained through Finance Act 2021 to punish retailers of smuggled goods would also help in checking smuggling at the retail stage.
The Committee discussed in detail the issue regarding missing of non-duty paid auctioned vehicles.
Member, Customs explained the facts and background of the matter.
After detailed discussion, the Committee recommended that all provincial secretaries of Excise and Taxation departments may be called in the next meeting of the Committee.
Chairman FBR Asim Ahmad said, Thursday, that the Directorate General Anti-Benami has filed 55 references of Benami cases with the Anti-Benami Adjudicating Authority against 500 cases framed against owners of Benami properties.
The FBR chairman informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance here on Thursday at the Parliament House that out of 500 Benami cases, proceedings have been dropped in 120 cases.
In 55 cases, references have been filed with the adjudication authorities.
In one case, Anti-Benami Initiative (ABI) Zone-I, Islamabad confiscated a luxury vehicle from a residential premise in the capital.
To a query, Asim Ahmad stated that the FBR’s anti-Benami directorate has not issued notices to the yarn merchants of Faisalabad, but the case may be related to the anti-money laundering (AML) of the Federal Investigation Agency.
The chairman FBR briefed the Committee about the action taken by the FBR on the implementation of Benami Act.
He said that 500 cases were identified out of which 55 references have been launched.
The Committee members expressed their concerns over the process of execution of Benami Act by the FBR at ground level.
The Committee noted that Anti-Money Laundering Act’s rules and regulations need to be reviewed for its effective implementation.
The chairman FBR assured the Committee that the FBR always puts taxpayer facilitation as its top most priority.
Robust internal control mechanism is in place to ensure transparency.
Policy of non-interactive system-based disposal of business is followed i.e. all kind of notices are issued electronically bearing Bar Code; therefore, all possible measures have been put in place to arrest the incidence of harassment.
The Committee unanimously directed that the FBR should launch an awareness campaign for the public about the rules of AML and Benami Act.
The Committee discussed The Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2020, clause by clause; however, could not complete its reading, due to shortage of time and decided that further discussion will be carried out in today’s meeting.
The meeting was attended by Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Faheem Khan, Ali Pervaiz, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Dr Nafisa Shah, Amjad Ali Khan, and Makhdoom Syed Samiul Hassan Gillani, MNAs and Minister for Finance and Revenue besides senior officers from the Ministry of Finance and Revenue and the FBR.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021