FATF rings alarm bells over PM Abbasi’s tax amnesty scheme

05:54 PM | 7 Apr, 2018
FATF rings alarm bells over PM Abbasi’s tax amnesty scheme
ISLAMABAD - Days after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi launched tax amnesty scheme, the Financial Action Task Force (FAT) expressed concerns over it, saying the scheme would undermine global fight against money laundering and terror financing.

The intergovernmental organistation, which maintains grey and black lists for identifying countries failed to take appropriated steps to curb money-laundering and terror financing, wrote a letter to letter to Adviser to the prime minister on Finance Miftah Ismail, in this regard.

According to reports, the FAT informed the adviser about reservations regarding the possibility of violation of money laundering laws and surge in terrorist financing under this package.

Sources at Ministry of Finance told Express Tribune that there was some lapse on part of Pakistan, as it did not seek prior approval of the FATF for the amnesty package.

In February, the FATF in its plenary session held in Paris decided to put country on the greylist from June.

Miftah Ismail, talking to a private news channel, on Saturday said that the amnesty scheme does not violate money laundering laws

“Pakistan’s tax amnesty scheme adheres to all international anti-money laundering laws,” the adviser said while speaking to Geo News.

Ismail confirmed that he received an email from the FATF, calling for following the accepted guidelines.

“The FATF has stressed upon strict monitoring of money laundering and terrorist financing activities,” the Pakistani premier’s financial adviser said.

The government also faced criticism from opposition parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which has announced to challenge tax amnesty scheme in court.

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The PTI has rejected the 5 points amnesty scheme of government launched to whiten the ‘Black money’ for Pakistanis living in the country and abroad.

“The money launderers are filling their own pockets, this is not a scheme but a gift to looters. The matter of amnesty scheme will be raised in the Senate and a resolution will be moved against this scheme,” said Fawad, party’s spokesperson as he addressed media on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi opened a three-month window for wealthy Pakistanis to whiten their hidden local and foreign assets at nominal rates from two percent to five percent.

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Abbasi announced a tax amnesty scheme for nonpayers, however, clarified that politically exposed persons (PEPs) and their families were not eligible to benefit from the scheme. The amnesty scheme is valid till June 30.

Income up to Rs0.1m per month not taxable

10%tax on annual income between Rs2.4-4.8m

15% tax on annual income above Rs4.8m

CNIC to be used as income tax number

Cash assets abroad can be brought back on payment of 2% penalty

Foreign assets, which will be brought back, can be declared at lower rates

Forex accounts within Pakistan will become visible to FBR

No one without NTN can open a forex account

Anyone receiving remittance over $100,000 in a year shall have to explain the source