Islamabad, Sep 28 - Pakistan must have a very large stick in the form of a whistle-blowing law that would allow any citizen to expose a tax evader and persuade those with wealth in offshore accounts to bring it back to the country, a daily said Friday.
An editorial in the News International said that tax havens are one thing but tax heaven entirely another, and it appears that the government is determined to pander to those who frequent the former in the hope of persuading them into the latter - courtesy of tax amnesty schemes.
There is unease among the very wealthy who have offshore accounts because of notices they are said to have received from their respective banks advising them to close their accounts by Oct 30.
The government is keen to get its hands on the unpaid taxes of those banking offshore. Depending on which estimate you believe, there is between $250 and $500 billion in foreign banks awaiting the attention of Pakistan's tax authorities, said the daily.
It added that astute investors park their money there because of a lack of trust in the government and the declining value of the rupee.
Why put your money where it will wither rather than grow? the daily wondered.
Persuading those with wealth elsewhere to bring it back to Pakistan is going to require considerable incentives, one of those being a very large stick in the form of a 'whistle-blowing' law that would allow any citizen to expose a tax evader, the editorial said.
The information, if proven correct, will add 30 percent of the tax recovered to the informer's coffers - a measure sure to ignite countless family feuds across the country.