*ISLAMABAD: *President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday promulgated four ordinances to give effect to tax amnesty scheme for whitening of local and offshore hidden assets, while for beneficiaries the government has not announced immunity from prosecution under anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws.
The government, for the time being, backed out from the announcement of lowering property tax rates and acquiring the right of taking over the properties by paying the owners higher than the declared prices.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had announced to acquire the right to take over property to discourage tax evasion and keep a check on the realty sector.
The government also did not lower the income tax rates for the Association of Persons, which would still pay maximum 35% rates. However, individuals’ income tax rates have been cut with effect from July, who will now pay highest rate of 15% plus a fixed tax for the two highest income slabs.
It appears that the Federal Board of Revenue tried to recoup some of the losses that it sustained due to the prime minister’s decision to steeply cut the income tax and property tax rates.
The Financial Action Task Force’s objections to the amnesty scheme also forced the government to withhold the decision to give immunity from prosecution under National Accountability Ordinance, Federal Investigation Agency Act, Election Commission of Pakistan Act, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Act and Anti-Smuggling Act.
The president promulgated Foreign Assets Declaration and Repatriation Ordinance 2018, Pakistan Economic Reforms Protection Act Amendment Ordinance 2018, the Voluntary Declaration of Domestic Assets Ordinance 2018 and Income Tax Amendment Ordinance 2018.
These ordinances will take effect from April 10 and the window to avail the schemes will close on June 30 this year.