Pakistani agencies probing financial crime now find the ambit of their jurisdiction squeezed. Thanks to the Income Tax Ordinance of 2022, investigators have been barred from seeking information related to tax amnesty schemes. It’s the third amnesty package for those trying to legalise their ill-gotten wealth, a bit rich coming from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Tehreek-i-Insaf that claims to uphold accountability and transparency. Strangely, the general public has been barred from seeking any information about these three tax amnesty schemes under the Right to Information Act of 2017. The anti-corruption watchdog, National Accountability Bureau, and the Federal Investigation Agency cannot ask the Federal Board of Revenue to share information about the beneficiaries of offshore and domestic tax amnesty schemes (the latest one and the earlier two in 2018 and 2019 as well). The government claims the move will incentivise capital investment into various sectors and boost industrialisation. As per the package, if eligible non-resident and resident Pakistani individuals repatriate their declared foreign assets into Pakistan for investment in the industrial sector, they would be entitled to 100 per cent tax credit for the next five years.
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