Shabbar Zaidi says FBR to be empowered to raid suspected premises

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to empower the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct raids at the premises of those who are allegedly involved in making illegal wealth, storing undeclared gold, jewelry, foreign currency and bearer securities and to confiscate these assets.

For this purpose, the government has proposed several amendments to Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through Finance Bill 2019.  The amendments introduce various changes to the legal framework governing tax evaders, absconders, abettors, officials and individuals involved in malpractices.

Talking to media, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi confirmed that by amending the law, the body is being given the powers to carry out raids to confiscate illegal currency, undeclared gold and bearers securities.

However, he said, FBR will not exercise this authority as he has enforced a banned on raids.

He said there should be a provision in law so that it can be used whenever the need arises.

The government via Finance Bill 2019 has introduced a new sub clause 6A in section 175 of Income Tax Ordinance. According to this sub clause, the commissioner land revenue has been given the powers to conduct raid on receiving confirmed information about the illegal assets. He will be entitled to search the premises of suspected officers, politicians, bureaucrats, traders, industrialists and others.

Sources in the FBR said the basic purpose of introducing amendments in the law is to tighten the noose around the corrupt, to take into possession money earned through loot and plunder and to confiscate undeclared gold.

The amendments are in line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and will be made part of the Finance Act 2019 after approval from the parliament.