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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has issued a notice for imposing a penalty to the extent of 100 days’ salary to Member Operations Inland Revenue, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The PIC chairman summoned the official in person on October 13, 2022, for not providing information about the individuals and companies who availed benefits from the Zero Percent Tax Amnesty Scheme given during the tenure of former premier Nawaz Sharif.

The order came after tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt lodged a complaint before the PIC against the FBR, alleging that the agency was trying to hide crucial information.

The citizen had also previously approached the Lahore High Court and the Federal Tax Ombudsman seeking disclosure of information pertaining to companies and persons who availed the Clause 86 of Second Schedule to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 and the amount introduced under it at zero percent income tax.

The appellant stated that he had submitted information requests to the FBR chairman but all in vain. He added that the introduction of any tax amnesty scheme for tax evaders was “nothing but the height of immorality fully sponsored by the state”.

The government, instead of entertaining any such scheme, should seriously consider introducing an “asset-seizure scheme to confiscate undeclared and untaxed assets created from black money,” he contended and stressed the need for laws to bring back “looted money from tax cheaters”.

The PIC notice sates, “The Order for the Pakistan Information Commission in instant appeal has not been implemented yet. The commission has directed you to appear in person before PIC on October 13, 2022, 11:30am at above mentioned address and submit your written response as to: “Why, under Section 20(1)(f) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017, fine may not be imposed on you for willfully delaying the disclosure of the information to the applicant, as directed in the order of PIC”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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