KARACHI: Four hundred Karachi residents have been served notices by the regional tax office of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), asking if they have used the recent tax amnesty scheme because they own properties in the United Kingdom, an FBR official told Arab News on Saturday.
Three hundred more individuals living in different cities of Sindh, including Hyderabad and Sukkur, would soon get similar notices, said the official on condition of anonymity since employees of the tax department cannot disclose such information to the media.
He added: “The owners of properties are required to explain the source of money they used while purchasing their UK assets and properties.”
A legal counsel confirmed that two of his clients had received such notices, though he refused to disclose their names and requested anonymity.
Zeeshan Merchant, vice president of Karachi Tax Bar Association, confirmed that such notices had been issued. “These are UK jurisdiction notices and, in the second phase, similar notices may also be issued to people who own properties in the United Arab Emirates. However, it seems that these are generalized notices that have been issued without proper research,” he told Arab News.
Merchant explained that if a person was a non-resident Pakistani, he should not get these notices. “Similarly, those who have mentioned their foreign assets, including their UK properties, in their wealth statement or foreign asset declaration should not get these notices.
“But it seems that all those who had a Pakistani reference in their UK tax returns have been chosen for these notices.”
Shaban Elahi, president of Pakistan Real Estate Investment Forum, also confirmed that notices had been issued to several Karachi residents.
“It’s an alarming issue that the FBR has issued notices to those as well who have already declared their foreign wealth in their statements,” Elahi told Arab News.
According to the FBR official, Pakistan being a signatory of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) will receive details of its citizens in the member countries by Sept. 30, 2018.
According to reports, the FBR in June 2017 established six AEOI zones across the country, including Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Karachi, and Quetta, with the FBR headquarters as the center point.