Ordinance prepared against benami properties: FBR chairman

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Shabbar Zaidi on Tuesday said that the government has prepared an ordinance against benami [undisclosed] properties ‘without making any major amendment’ in the legislation.
Shabbar Zaidi announced that the ordinance against benami properties has been prepared, however, there would be no major amendment in the law but to expedite legal actions.
The chairman said that the economic officials are engaged in dialogues with the ‘technical team’ of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that a technical team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Pakistan to hold dialogues with the economic officials for the payment of the next tranche of $6 billion under the extended loan programme.
Sources said that the technical team will stay for two weeks in Pakistan, whereas, the first session of the financial talks was held with the economic team today.
The recent visit of the IMF officials was made for the payment of next tranche from the international financial body likely to be dispatched in 2020. Sources said that the visiting team initiated dialogues with Pakistan officials over the tax system.
The officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) briefed the technical team regarding the matters related to income and sales taxes besides holding discussion over the possibilities of retrieving more than Rs700 billion in term of tax collections.
In his latest statement to the media, Shabbar Zaidi said that the board will satisfy the financial institution’s team over tax revenue.
Moreover, he clarified that the government is also holding talks with traders’ community and refuted the reports of deadlock. He added that FBR is taking steps to simplify the business activities in the country.
Regarding the regulations for undisclosed assets, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) spokesperson had elaborated on March 13 that the benami law, aimed at confiscating all properties and bank accounts that would not be registered with the name of the real owner, has been implemented.
The FBR said cases would be prepared against benami properties after thorough investigation. An adjudicating authority will also be formed to decide the cases falling under the purview of the new law. It said the decisions announced by the adjudicating authority could be challenged before an appellate tribunal.
Under the law, benami properties would be confiscated for a period of ninety days. Besides, the seized property could also be auctioned following the verdict of the appellate tribunal. The FBR said commissioners of Islamabad and Karachi have been empowered to take action any properties in the benami law.