FBR sets 200pc penalty for offshore tax evasion

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday said the amended income tax law attract 200 percent penalty amount of tax evaded in cases of undeclared offshore assets.

The FBR issued income tax circular to explain the changes brought through Finance Act, 2019 regarding offshore assets and tax evasion.

The FBR said that through the Finance Act, 2019, the term “offshore Assets” has been defined by inserting a new clause (38AA) in section 2 of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, which includes any movable or immovable assets held, any again, profit or income derived, or any expenditure incurred outside Pakistan.

The term “offshore evader” has been defined by inserting a new clause (38AB) in section 2 and it means a person who owns, possesses, control, or is the beneficial owner of an offshore assets and dos not declare, or under declares or provides inaccurate particulars of such assets to the Commissioners.

Penalty has also been provided in serial No. 22 in sub section (1) of section 182 that where an offshore tax evader is involved in offshore tax evasion in the course of any proceedings under this Ordinance before any Income Tax authority or the appellate tribunal, such person shall pay a penalty of Rs100,000 or an amount equal to 200 percent of the tax sought to be evaded, whichever is higher.

Prosecution for concealment of an offshore assets has been provided by inserting a new section 192B according to which any person who fails to declare an offshore assets to the Commissioner or furnishes inaccurate particulars of an offshore assets and the revenue impact of such concealment or furnishing of inaccurate particulars is ten million rupees or more shall commit an offence punishable on conviction with imprisonment up to three years or with a fine up to Rs. 500,000, or both.

A new sub-section (5) has been added in section 145 as per which the Commissioner may freeze any domestic assets of a person where on the basis of information received from an offshore jurisdiction, the Commissioner has reason to believe the such person who is likely to leave Pakistan may be involved in offshore tax evasion or such person is about to dispose of any assets.

The Commissioner may freeze any domestic assets of the person including any assets beneficially owned by such person for a period of 120 days or till the finalization of proceedings including recovery proceedings and any other proceeding under the Ordinance, whichever is earlier.

The term “offshore enabler” has been defined by inserting a new clause (38AC) in section 2 to include any person who enables, assist, or advises any person to plan, design, arrange or manage a transaction or declaration relating to an offshore assets, which has resulted or may result in tax evasion.

Penalty has been provided in serial no.23 of sub-section (1) of section 182 that where in the course of any transaction or declaration made by a person an enabler has enabled, guided, advised or managed any person to design, arrange or manage that transaction or declaration in such a manner which has resulted or may result in offshore tax evasion in the course of any proceedings under the Ordinance, such person shall pay a penalty of Rs 300,000 or an amount equal to 200 percent of the tax which was sought to be evaded, whichever is higher.

Prosecution for enabling offshore tax evasion has been provided by inserting a new section 195B to the effect that any enabler who enables, guides or advises any person to design, arrange or manage a transaction or declaration in such a manner which results in offshore tax evasion, shall commit an offence punishable on conviction with imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or with a fine up to five million rupees or both.

The term “asset move “has been defined by inserting a new clause(5C) in section 2 and it means the transfer of non offshore assets to an unspecified jurisdiction by or an behalf of a person who owns, possesses, controls or is the beneficial owner of such offshore asset for the purpose of tax evasion.

An unspecified jurisdiction means a jurisdiction which has not committed to automatically exchange information under the Common Reporting Standard with Pakistan. The term “specified jurisdiction “has been defined by inserting a new clause (60A) in section 2 and it means any jurisdiction which has committed to automatically exchange information under Common Reporting Standard with Pakistan.

Penalty has also been provided in serial 24 of sub-section (1) of section 182 that any person who is involved in asset move from specified to un-specified territory shall pay a penalty of Rs. 100,000 or an amount equal to 100 percent of the tax, whichever is higher.

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