Pakistan goes after hidden assets and finds nearly $450 million

After another IMF loan, the country is increasing enforcement on tax avoidance to help manage its debt.

    According to its government, less than one percent of Pakistan's population files tax returns [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]
    According to its government, less than one percent of Pakistan's population files tax returns [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

    Pakistan's government, struggling to lift revenues and cut ballooning public debt, registered around 100,000 new tax filers and expects to have raised about $450m from a tax amnesty on hidden assets, the finance chief said on Thursday.

    The announcement came a day after the International Monetary Fund gave final approval to a six-billion-dollar loan package designed to shore up the economy while the government cuts debt and builds up dwindling foreign currency reserves.

    Finance chief Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said nearly 137,000 people had registered at the closure of the amnesty this week, of whom nearly 100,000 were first-time filers.

    That was a significant total in a nation in which less than one percent of the 208 million population file tax returns.

    In total, around three trillion rupees ($19.25bn) of assets were declared and tax revenue worth around 70 billion rupees ($449.15m) was collected.

    Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced the amnesty on undeclared assets, part of a broader drive to widen Pakistan's notoriously narrow tax base, in a bid to identify high earners for more efficient tax collection.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency