Smuggled and non-duty vehicles to be confined, FBR

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed Pakistan Customs to impound smuggled and non-duty paid vehicles after the amnesty scheme expires on March 31, 2013.

The FBR in a statement issued Tuesday said that the amnesty scheme for legalizing the smuggled and non-duty paid vehicles would not be extended beyond the expiry date.

“The rumors suggesting possible extension in the deadline are absolutely unfounded,” the statement said. The FBR through SRO 172 (I)/2013 on March 5, 2013 introduced the amnesty scheme for legitimizing the smuggled and non-duty paid vehicles upon payment of duty and taxes.

“Those seeking to avail of this facility of the amnesty scheme must therefore present their smuggled/non-duty paid vehicles to Customs, latest by 31st March, 2013,” the FBR statement added.

Sources in Pakistan Customs said that the FBR had received thousands of applications seeking the facility. “However, applicants have not produced their vehicles for mandatory physical examinations for the process,” a Customs official said.

The sources said that the revenue collection from the drive was much lower than expectation and people fearing other tax complications including declaring income were reluctant to avail the scheme.The FBR stated that it would redouble its drive against such vehicles after the expiry of the amnesty scheme.

“Instructions have been issued to the customs field formations to impound such vehicles, besides lodging FIRs against the persons found in the ownership or possession of these vehicles, provided they are not got legitimized under the amnesty scheme, upto 31st March, 2013,” according to the statement.

The sources said that data provided by the applicants would be helpful for the FBR to impound the illegal vehicles in case those vehicles were not getting benefit of the facility.The FBR launched the amnesty scheme to raise the revenue besides legalizing the smuggled vehicles plying on the roads.

In the past the Supreme Court had made strict remarks over smuggled vehicles that were believed to be used in terrorist activities. In Balochistan law and order case, the FBR had informed the apex court that a data of about 33,000 vehicles was being collected in respect of non-customs paid vehicles and assured the apex court that all such vehicles would be impounded.

FBR is directed to recover all these vehicles as early as possible and in future no such vehicle including motorcycles etc. shall be allowed to ply without the payment of customs duty and if any such vehicle found, the same shall be impounded and the accused persons shall be dealt with under the law,” the court noted.

Following the directives of the apex court the collectorates had initiated massive drive to impound the smuggled and non-paid vehicles but failed to achieve the desired results.