Traders hail NA for approving Tax Amnesty Bill

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiraan (APAT) on Friday has hailed the National Assembly for approving the Tax Amnesty Bill with a majority.

Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, APAT Central General Secretary Naeem Mir blasted the opposition parties, saying that the NAB-tainted politicians, land mafias, black money holders and feudal lords are opposing Voluntary Tax Compliance Scheme, which aimed at facilitating small traders and enhancing the tax net in the country.

He asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to also impose tax on the amount collected in shrines, which is worth millions, demanding FBR to depute tax officials on each shrine to assess the huge income of custodians of these shrines.

It is unfortunate that feudal lords like Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Khurshid Shah opposed the amnesty scheme, but they never demanded tax on agricultural incomes of landlords belonging to South Punjab and Sindh. “Shah Mehmood Qureshi earned millions of rupees through his shrine and never paid tax on this earnings. All opposition parties are involved in money laundering and land grabbing cases while the traders earn money through hard work,” he added.

Mir said if the opposition parties moved to the court against the scheme, then the traders would also fight for the cause of increasing the tax to GDP ratio.

He said that small traders would benefit from the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2016, which would also encourage the non-filers to come in the tax net besides and increase the number of tax filers from 700,000 to 1.7 million, as per the commitment made by the business community during the dialogue with government.

He said that the tax amnesty scheme would revive the confidence of traders on the country’s tax system, adding that reforms in the tax system would also encourage local and international investment in the country.

The APAT general secretary said that the government has taken a positive step to evolve a conducive business environment to save the local small business traders in the country.

The APAT general secretary said the tax amnesty scheme has been proposed by the business community to persuade the non-filers to file their tax returns.

“We are committed to increase the number of taxpayers and enhance the tax base for economic growth and prosperity in the country,” he added.

Mir said that first time in country’s history, the government has taken steps to benefit the small traders and revive their confidence on tax system.

Before this scheme, only 700,000 tax filers were filing their tax returns out of total 200 millions population of the country, which needed more than one million increase to enhance the tax to GDP ratio, he said. He noted that 3.5 million traders were registered in WAPDA record while only 200,000 are paying their taxes. “We particularly need to educate the traders about benefits of filing tax returns and reviving their confidence on tax system of the country,” he added.

 

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