National Assembly panel presents report on tax laws bill

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The National Assembly's Standing Committee Thursday presented its report on "Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012" in the Lower House to provide mechanism for bringing potential taxpayers into the tax net and to enforce compliance of tax laws by giving a one-time opportunity to unregistered persons and non-filers to regularise their tax affairs, adopting a simplified procedure. 'Tax Laws Amendment Bill 2012' has been designed to increase total number of taxpayers to 2.2 percent of the total population from existing 0.3 percent by bringing 3.8 million potential taxpayers into the tax net. When Nafisa Shah, a member of the committee presented the report on behalf of the chairman in the House, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) expressed its reservations over it.

Abdul Rasheed Godial of MQM said his party has serious reservations over the report. He said the Bill in the committee was not read clause-by-clause and passed through voting during MQM boycott. He said five years have passed but the government did not introduce such scheme. He said Article-25 of the Constitution is being violated.

"The Federal Board of Revenue is incompetent and has failed to implement its policies. There's leakage of Rs 450 billion in the FBR. I don't know how the FBR will bring 3.2 million people into the tax net through this scheme. The aim of this scheme is only to whiten the black money earned through corruption, smuggling and drugs dealing," he said.

"I don't know where the money would be spent if the government says that Rs 124 billion revenue would be collected by bringing 3.2 million people into the tax net. The government is not giving any benefit to people who are paying taxes," he added.

"The Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012" seeks to amend the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, Sales Tax Act, 1999 and Federal Excise Act, 2005 to provide an effective alternative dispute resolution mechanism to settle the protracted legal disputes.

Earlier, the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Finance held its meeting on Tuesday (March 5) and approved "The Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012" with the support of PML-N. Committee Chairman Khawaja Sohail Mansoor refused to become part of the meeting and walked out along with Abdul Rashid Godial, allowing Nafeesa Shah of the People's Party to chair the meeting of the committee. Subsequently, the committee meeting presided over by Nafeesa passed the law unanimously with the support of PML-N parliamentarians.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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