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ISLAMABAD: The Board-in-Council of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will take up the issue of provision of information of declarants, who availed the Tax Amnesty Scheme, to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Sources told Business Recorder here on Friday that the FBR has convened the Board-in-Council meeting on Tuesday (Feb 8) to discuss various issues including notices of the NAB Peshawar to the FBR Members on provision of information of some declarants under the tax amnesty scheme.

According to the sources, the FBR has approached the federal government to bar the bureau from sharing legally-protected information of foreign assets of some taxpayers, who availed tax amnesty scheme of 2019.

The bureau had asked the senior FBR officials to provide legally protected information that a taxpayer had shared with the FBR under the 2019 offshore assets tax amnesty scheme.

The bureau wants the information of a political family of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, who disclosed any domestic or foreign assets under the provisions (of) Voluntary Declaration of Domestic Assets Act 2018 or Assets Declaration Ordinance 2019.”

The FBR informed the NAB that the law stopped its people from sharing the tax and asset information of those who availed the amnesty schemes. The Law Division also backed the FBR’s position.

Sources added that the legal opinion given by the Law Division, suggest that under the Tax Amnesty Schemes of 2018 and 2019 the FBR cannot disclose the names of those who will avail the amnesty scheme.

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Tax expert added that a plain reading of Section 11 of the Voluntary Declaration of Domestic Assets Ordinance 2018 and Section 14 of the Assets Declaration Ordinance 2019 makes it evident that the said confidentiality provisions are applicable on the NAO, 1999 and NAB has no inherent power to proceed in this regard.

The law says that no tax amnesty declaration can be used as evidence against the declarant. It also says that the amnesty law will override any other law for the time being in force.

The opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice had been obtained whether the exclusive jurisdiction granted to NAB vide Section 27 of NAO 1999 overrides the confidentiality provisions of Section 11 of the Voluntary Declaration of Domestic Assets Ordinance, 2018 and Section 14 of the Assets Declaration Ordinance, 2019.

The Law Division informed the FBR that the tax amnesty details could not be shared with NAB, as the amnesty law, which came later, would take precedent over the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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