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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday vowed action after June 30, 2019 against those individuals who despite owing undeclared assets/income would not avail the Asset Declaration Scheme-2019. The Prime Minister chaired a preparatory meeting for budget 2019-20 wherein he was briefed in detail about the revenues and spendings for the next fiscal year. During the meeting, it was decided to go after wealthy people and high net worth individuals if they do not get registered their assets under recently announced the Asset Declaration Scheme-2019.
The government's economic team comprising Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi met Prime Minister Imran Khan at Bani Gala. The meeting was attended amongst others by Minister for Planning Khusro Bakhtiar and Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar.
The meeting discussed key features of federal budget (2019-20) to be presented on June 11. Sources told Business Recorder that the PM has categorically conveyed to the economic team that there would be no concessions for individuals not availing the amnesty scheme and action would be taken against the tax evaders after June 30.
The Prime Minister said that the government has announced the assets declaration scheme and also extended the date of filing the tax returns up to June 30, 2019. During the meeting, the PM expressed determination that the current amnesty scheme will be the last one and after which no leniency will be shown to those who will hide their assets inside and outside the country. The source quoted the prime minister as saying: "No one will be spared after expiry of the amnesty scheme."
The meeting agreed that there were some indicators of wealth which will be strictly monitored as the FBR will be after those who are having "hi-fi life style', including houses in posh areas, luxurious vehicles and frequent travelers abroad.
The government will not offer any concession to the people who will fail to get benefit from extension in filing of tax returns date, sources quoted the PM as saying. He said all government institutions including FBR are committed to taking action against tax evaders.
According to sources, Prime Minister Khan questioned the participants: "Why does only the salaried class pay tax?"
During the meeting, the issue of sales tax zero-rating on five export-oriented sectors was again discussed with the PM.
Imran Khan will take final decision on the withdrawal of zero-rating facility for five export sectors after Eid holidays.
Tax authorities shared the revenue generation plan for 2019-20 for the next fiscal year including new taxation measures, withdrawal of exemptions and administrative measures to broaden the tax base. The revenue collection would be increased to Rs 5,550 billion in the next fiscal year, around Rs 1,500 billion higher from projected tax collection of Rs 4,000 billion in 2018-19.
The FBR chairman also briefed the Prime Minister on the tax amnesty scheme. Hammad Azhar briefed the meeting on the extension in the date of tax returns and tax revenue.
The PM observed that low income group should be put under the burden of less taxes and those who were rich should be taxed.
The PM also urged to hold a series of meetings of all stakeholders including businessmen and industrialists to solicit their proposals for budget.
Imran Khan said that the government will finalize its policies regarding businesses in consultation with the business community.
He said the government wanted that policies regarding trade and industries should be made in consultation with businessmen and industrialists so that the problems confronting them can be properly addressed.
The prime minister said the business community of the country should have to play a role of a front line team for the revival of economy.
Hammad Azhar said Tuesday that consultations with the export community are ongoing on all issues including taxation, tariffs and gas/power pricing. Inputs are being solicited from all stakeholders and the final decision will be taken by the Federal Cabinet in the coming days, tweet of Hammad Azhar added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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