Government seeks to put 15 million fraudsters under the tax net, says Minister – Journal
ISLAMABAD: Disclosing that the government had profiles of 15 million suspected tax evaders, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin informed the Senate on Friday that they would be persuaded through a third party to pay taxes or face the law.
Closing the budget discussion in the upper house of parliament, he said section 203 of the income tax law would be reformed, but said some deterrent provisions against tax evasion would be retained. “We must have the capacity to act against voluntary delinquencies,” he stressed.
He said it was not the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), but the third party, such as associations of traders, bankers and doctors, who would talk to people who pay huge utility bills and hold claims. large sums in their bank accounts.
Regarding the arrest of tax evaders, he said this has never been done in the country, but is happening in other parts of the world.
IMF wants Rs 700 billion in new taxes, Senate says
He cited the example of the arrest and conviction of Peter Graf, father of German tennis star Steffi Graf, for tax evasion of his daughter’s income. He also spoke about the arrests of famous British horse racing jockey Lester Piggott and self-proclaimed American businesswoman Leona Helmsley, commonly known as Queen of Hotels, for tax fraud and evasion.
Mr Tarin, however, assured the House that action against delinquencies would only be taken after high-level scrutiny. “We are going to make it satisfactory for everyone because it has become a big deal,” he said.
On the much talked about harassment from the RBF, he said the self-report had been reinstated. If a tax official thinks something is missing, an audit will be offered and a random third party audit of 5-6% of cases will be performed.
Referring to accusations that the budget was prepared by the International Monetary Fund, he said the IMF wanted to impose new taxes of 700 billion rupees, including a 15 billion rupee increase in income tax . But, he added, he resisted the demand.
Earlier, former Senate Speaker and mainstay of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Mian Raza Rabbani noted in his speech that it was said that the budget was prepared by Gotham sages, officers second-tier IMF, Pakistani IMF employees, and friendly capitalists. . “The IMF is the new East India Company. Pakistan voluntarily traded in its financial sovereignty and knowingly became a colony of financial colonialism. ”
He said that speaking on a television broadcast on June 11, the Minister of Finance said that “the Fund has asked Pakistan to present its budget so that negotiations can continue.”
“It also implies that the debate in both chambers and the vote on the budget in the National Assembly is a farce; the actual budget will be decided after negotiations with the IMF. Therefore, sovereignty belongs to the IMF and not to parliament, ”he noted.
“It is a shame that in his post-budget press conference, the Minister of Finance said that ‘we have asked for a six-month extension of the construction amnesty program.’ This proves once again that the financial decisions are not made by the government of Pakistan, but by the IMF. ”
Agreement with the IMF
Mr Rabbani said the prime minister’s special assistant for finance and revenue on another talk show said the IMF had reservations about the government’s decision not to raise electricity tariffs.
He added that it had been decided that the electricity tariff would be increased by Rs 4 per unit. Electricity tariffs have already been increased by Rs 1.95 per unit and the increase of Rs 1.90 per unit has only been delayed.
He added that Tarin had also admitted that the electricity tariff had already been increased by 40 percent as part of the deal with the IMF.
According to him, the government believes that it has an advantage with the United States, in terms of American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Therefore, he could use his leverage with the United States to relax the IMF. “What is the political price? he asked and noted that military bases, ground support or air corridors to facilitate aerial reconnaissance would be heavy prices to pay.
Mr Rabbani also said that the finance minister at his post-budget press conference said that an increase in the price of oil was expected in the future. The oil tax under the dictates of the IMF must be increased to Rs20 per liter. On June 15, 2021, while the budget was still under discussion, the government had increased the prices of petroleum products by more than Rs 2.5 per liter.
He questioned the extended powers of the RBF and customs officials to arrest and prosecute taxpayers and traders proposed in the budget bill. He said the Income Tax Act proposed to introduce a parallel system of investigation and determination of liability and that the RBF was being established as a parallel body to the National Accountability Bureau. (NAB).
Rabbani said parliament was being asked to give ex post approval to a record additional Rs 1,248 billion subsidy for spending overruns and reallocation. He pointed out that in the last fiscal year this figure stood at 545 billion rupees.
Mushahid Hussain Sayed of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has called on the government to reconsider and reverse its decision to mortgage airports and highways to obtain foreign loans.
“You cannot pledge your strategic assets. It’s out of the question, “he said.
Referring to the situation in Afghanistan in the context of the withdrawal of American troops and the ongoing internal struggles, he said that the United States is leaving behind the mess it has created for Pakistan.
Stressing the need for a national approach based on clarity, he noted that the United States needed Pakistan more than Pakistan needed. “We have a strategic space,” he observed.
Referring to the allocation of 300 million rupees for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, he asked why an amount had not been allocated for the reconstruction of health and education establishments in Gaza.
Posted in Dawn, le 26 June 2021