Former FBR chief exposes real estate as the ‘parking lot’ of untaxed money in Pakistan

Shakila Nasreen

Former chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue, Shabbar Zaidi, has claimed that the real estate market in Pakistan is a “parking lot” for untaxed money. Speaking at a session on ‘Taxation and Development’ in Lahore, Zaidi said that real estate enjoys “perpetual amnesty” and that he had taken steps to discourage tax on the sector during his tenure as chairman of the FBR. He also claimed that the country’s Defence Housing Authorities must be removed from the real estate business, saying that there could not be a level playing field in the industry while a state institution with significant power was competing with private companies. Ikramul Haq, a lawyer and columnist, added that the country had too many amnesties and DHAs where property business is done, resulting in haphazard taxation on extra plots of land. Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Kashif Anwar, said he was pro-amnesty, as he wanted to keep capital in the country and suggested there should be amnesty on undeclared foreign reserves to bring money back to Pakistan.

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