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Non-resident Pakistanis can now buy property without being tax-filers


News Desk |

The government has removed the pre-requisite of being a tax-filer for overseas Pakistanis to purchase properties in the country and individuals acquiring properties through inheritance. The decision was taken to facilitate non-residents wishing to invest in the local real-estate sector. The condition which had previously been levied by the PML-N government had increased challenges for overseas Pakistanis.

The decision issued via a circular on Wednesday, the 24th of October, reveals that restriction on purchase/transfer of property having a value exceeding Rs5 million by non-filers will not apply to legal heirs acquiring property through inheritance.

They will also provide a list of persons receiving a profit on debt exceeding Rs1m for filers and Rs500, 000 for non-filers along with information regarding tax deduction during the preceding financial year.

Also, the condition of being a filer will not apply on overseas Pakistanis who are able to draw up a certificate from a scheduled bank attesting the receipt of foreign exchange remitted from outside Pakistan through normal banking channels during a period of 60 days prior to the date of registering, recording or attesting transfer of immovable property valuing Rs5m, local publications reported.

The government, in order to effectively implement restrictions on non-filers to purchase and sell properties and vehicles, introduced penalties upon local manufacturers of vehicles, excise and taxation department, and authorities responsible for registering, recording or attesting of immovable properties.

Read more: Overseas Pakistanis: An underrated asset for Pakistan

A penalty of 5% of the value of the motor vehicle will be levied on a domestic manufacturer of an automobile in light of accepting any application for booking or acquisition of a domestically manufactured car by a non-filer.

Likewise, a penalty of 3% on the value of the motor vehicle will be imposed on the excise and taxation department for accepting, processing or registering any application of a domestically manufactured car or the first registration of an imported automobile by a non-filer.

And a penalty of 3% will be levied on the value of the immovable property, in case any authority accountable for registering, recording or verifying the transfer of immovable property valued over Rs5 million in case of a non-filer.

In case there is no reply from the commissioner, the Iris system will automatically accept the application for revision on the fourth working day and it will be deemed that the commissioner has accepted the application for revision.

Via a revision in the Finance Act 2018, banks will share information with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of individuals who withdraw cash over Rs50,000 in a day and tax deduction for filer and non-filers, totaling to Rs1 million or above during the previous calendar year.

The banks have also been mandated to provide a list containing particulars of deposits aggregating Rs10million or more made during the calendar month and a list of payment made by any person against credit card bills aggregating Rs200, 000 or more during the preceding calendar month.

They will also provide a list of persons receiving a profit on debt exceeding Rs1m for filers and Rs500, 000 for non-filers along with information regarding tax deduction during the preceding financial year. The information will be provided on monthly basis.

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Through an amendment, the government has allowed taxpayers to revise tax return voluntarily by December 31, 2018, along with the payment of higher tax which is 25pc higher than the tax paid with return on the basis of taxable income. In case no tax is payable, the taxpayer will have to pay 2pc of the turnover.

The taxpayer will apply to the commissioner of income tax on the Iris system for the revision of return selected for audit. The commissioner will grant permission within three working days of receipt of application. In case there is no reply from the commissioner, the Iris system will automatically accept the application for revision on the fourth working day and it will be deemed that the commissioner has accepted the application for revision. The application will be accepted through the system after fulfillment of the necessary conditions.

Read more: Why would overseas iVOTE be a disaster?

The condition of revision of return or payment of 25pc higher tax or 2pc of the turnover will not apply if the taxable income of the taxpayer includes salary income and income subject to final taxation.

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