PESHAWAR   -   Chief Commissioner, Regional Tax Office (RTO, Qaiser Iqbal has called upon the business community to take full benefit from the assets declaration Ordinance, recently introduced by federal government to broaden the existing tax net, which will be the last opportunity for the people to disclose hidden assets within the country and abroad.

He was speaking to businessmen and traders in a meeting held in Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) under its president President Faiz Muhammad Faizi here on Monday.

On this occasion besides, SCCI vice president, Haris Mufti, former presidents, Zahid Shinwari, Riaz Arshad, Haji Afzal, Commissioner Inland Revenue, RTO Peshawar Zone Abid Mehmood, Corporate Zone RTO Peshawar, Deputy Commissioner Inland Revenue Peshawar, Sohail Ahmad, Assistant Private Secretary RTO (HQ) Shakeel Barakzai, members of executive body of the chamber, and a large number of traders and industrialists were present in the meeting.

Faiz Muhammad hailed the government’s asset declaration Ordinance, that provides an opportunity for whitening the undisclosed expenditures, sales and assets, including foreign assets. He added the increasing tax base and revenue generation was imperative for the provision of better economic and social services to the people.

However, he said the amnesty scheme must end up in which the highly classified data of those individuals who availed the amnesty scheme was shared with several government agencies, besides, stern action needed to be taken against those who are not avail the scheme.

“The business community will be more than happy as to become part of the documented economy, but the government has to support them by protecting them from any kind of harassment through agencies or institutions,” SCCI president said.

Faizi strongly opposed the imposition of additional burden of taxes on already registered tax-payers in the country and demanding further broadening of existing tax-net. He stressed to make the amnesty scheme successful, the government will have to ensure complete secrecy and confidentiality of the declareants’ data. He said that it will make sure that there shouldn’t be over-ridding effect of the scheme.  ‘No action should be taken against those people, declaring their assets under anti-money laundering Act’, he asked.

Praising FBR new Chairman Shabbar Zaidi for taking pro-business steps, Faiz expressed the hope that he would continue to do so throughout his tenure, which would help restore the confidence of the business community and in return it would lead to economic prosperity.

Iqbal, while speaking on the occasion, said that businessmen are paying 29 per cent taxes, so we have fully realized their importance. However, he clarified that this is not amnesty scheme, but asset declaration under which anyone will easily declare their undisclosed assets within and outside the country. He said that action will be taken under the law against those who were not declared their assets under the ordinance after June 30.

He said that due to taking ownership by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the assets declaration Ordinance has gained highest progress, which would decrease the burden on already registered taxpayers. So, this is high time for anyone to declare owns hidden assets under the scheme, he said and assured the businessmen to facilitate them at every level.

Later on, the RTO Commissioner Peshawar and other officials of RTO Peshawar gave briefing in details about the assets declaration scheme.