Pakistan has signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Accounts Information (MCAA) in Paris on 7th June, 2017. With this signing of the MCAA, Pakistan has completed all the legal requirements for automatic exchange of financial accounts information. The MCAA is the framework agreement in pursuance of Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, signed by the Finance Minister in September, 2016. The MCAA provides details of what information has to be exchanged, when and how? With the signing of MCAA, Pakistan completes all the legal requirements for automatic exchange of financial account information and commits itself to the exchanges from 2018 onwards.
The MCAA was signed by Mr. Mohammad Iqbal, Chief (International Taxes) as a representative of Chairman, FBR. The signing was witnessed by Mr. Douglas Frantz, Deputy Secretary General, OECD. The Ambassador of Pakistan to France and Head of Secretariat of the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purpose were also present at the occasion. The OECD officials commended the efforts made by Pakistan in implementing the AEOI and acknowledged the unprecedented progress made by Pakistan in a very short span of time.
09/05/2017- Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) conducted a seminar on Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of information. The seminar was conducted by the officials of OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The OECD team comprised of Mr. Donal Godfrey, Deputy Head of Global Forum Secretariat and Mr. Lloyd Garrichinho, Analyst in the Global Forum. The event was arranged in Karachi for facilitation and education of the financial industry so that maximum representatives of the industry can benefit from the expertise of the OECD team members. Pakistan has signed and ratified the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters in 2016 and has also taken up a Pilot Project on Automatic Exchange of Information with the approval of Finance Minister with the assistance of the Global Forum and United Kingdom. As Pakistan intends to start its first exchange of information soon, therefore, the financial sector is required to start its due diligence process from 1st July, 2017.
Federal Board of Revenue has already notified Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Rules for the purpose. The Orientation Seminar was conducted in Auditorium of Old Customs, Karachi. Mr. Mohammad Iqbal, Chief (International Taxes) FBR, Mr. Irfan Ali, Executive Director SBP and Ms. Khalida Habib from SECP were also on the panel for the seminar. The Chief Commissioners of RTOs and LTUs, Director General of Customs Training Academy, Collectors of Customs and other senior FBR officers also attended the seminar. Other participants included officers from SBP, SECP, and representatives of financial sector from banking and non-banking sector in a large number.
The event commenced with opening remarks by Mr. Mohammad Iqbal, Chief (International Taxes) FBR and Mr. Irfan Ali, Executive Director of SBP. The participants were communicated the messages of Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue and Dr. Muhammad Irshad, Chairman FBR apprising them of the steps taken by FBR so far and expressing strong commitment of FBR to the automatic exchange of information.
The purpose of the seminar was to guide and address to the queries of the stakeholders about implementation of CRS Rules and automatic exchange of information. Mr. Donal Godfrey and Mr. Llyod Garrochinho made detailed presentations on CRS Rules. The participants raised different questions and sought clarification on issues pertaining to CRS and AEOI which were responded by the visiting delegation. The event was concluded with words of thanks by FBR representatives to all participants and the OECD delegation and also appreciated the active participation of the financial industry in the seminar. The Director General DGTR (Customs) and Collector (Preventive) Customs were also thanked for their arrangements for the seminar.
Three days on site visit of OECD has been conducted from 16 to 18th January, 2017. Chairman FBR, Mr. Nisar Mohammad inaugurated the Session on 16th January. Mr. RehmatUllah Khan Wazir, Member Inland Revenue (Policy) gave an introductory speech, followed by brief remarks by Mr. Mohammad Iqbal, Chief (International Taxes). During the sessions, the OECD team was apprised of the legal and IT related achievements that Pakistan has made. Draft CRS Rules were also discussed at length. The comments of the regulators of the financial sector i.e. SBP and SECP were discussed and the OECD team members gave their opinion from legal perspective. The team also visited the AEOI Room and the Data centre of PRAL.One session on 18th January was dedicated for the orientation of the financial sector. Some representatives of the industry participated the session at FBR(HQ) Islamabad and others joined the discussion through video link at LTU Karachi. The concluding Session was presided by Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Revenue. The OECD team members appreciated the efforts of the AEOI pilot Project Team and stated that the progress that Pakistan has made on different fronts is highly commendable and encouraging. The team also stressed the signing of MCAA and the procurement of IT softaware required for the Automatic Exchange of Information. The Minister of State, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan assured the team of full support to the AEOI Pilot Project Team. At the end of the session, soveniers and shields were presented to the guests.
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan conducted an interactive session of the AEOI Pilot Project team with the non banking financial sector at SECP head office Islamabd on 30th December, 2016. Representatives of the financial industry joined the workshop through video link from Karachi. Ms Khalida Habib from SECP , Ms Rabia Yaser Durrani from FBR and Mr. Abid Naeem from PRAL made presentations on the occasion. The industry was apprised about the CRS Rules, implementation of the AEOI Pilot Project and the role of the financial sector for automatic exchange of information. The participants raised queries about the mechanism for transfer of data to the Federal Board of Revenue and the reporting requirements which were answered by the Pilot Team. The representatives of the industry appreciated the efforts of SECP and FBR for conducting the awareness workshop.
A one day workshop was arranged by Pakistan Banking Association and State Bank of Pakistan on 16 December, 2016 in auditorium of State Bank of Pakistan Karachi. Mr. Ashoke Kumar from Earnst and Young made an introductory presentation on details of the CRS Rules and implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information Pilot Project. It was followed by an interactive session. Ms Rabia Yaser, Secretary (EOI) and Mr. Fida Mohammad Secretary( TT&C) FBR, answered the questions of the participants. The event was attended by a large number of participants from the banking Sector.
Representative of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Mr. Jon Swerdlow visited FBR (HQ) Islamabad from 5th to 8th December, 2016 for orientation of the AEOI Pilot Project team. The four days session was attended by members of the Pilot Team from FBR, SECP, SBP and PRAL. One day session on 7th December, 2016 was dedicated for interaction with the banking and non banking financial sector of Pakistan. Different aspects of the Pilot Project were discussed. Presentations were made by representatives of PRAL, SBP and SECP highlighting their opinion and questions about the implementation of the project. Mr. Jon Swerdlow also briefed the participants about the whole scheme of CRS Rules. First draft of CRS Rules was also discussed with him at length.
The closing session was attended by Chairman, FBR who appreciated the efforts of the Pilot Team and presented shield and souvenir to Mr. Jon Swerdlow.
A seminar on Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters was organized by FBR in Marriott Hotel Islamabad on 28th September, 2016. The seminar was presided over by Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and attended by a large number of participants from different walks of life i-e chartered accountants, lawyers, representatives of chambers of commerce and industries, officials of State Bank of Pakistan, SECP and researchers etc. Main Speakers of the Seminar were Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar. Special Assistant to Prime Minister Mr Haroon Akhtar Khan, Chairman FBR Mr. Nisar Muhammad, Mr Masood Naqvi, Mr Mohsin Nadeem President of Pakistan Tax Bar Association, Haroon Rasheed from SBP and Mohammad Iqbal, Chief International Taxes, FBR. Speakers and participants appreciated the achievement of FBR for enabling Pakistan to receive the invitation from Secretary General of OECD for signing the Convention. Chairman FBR, Mr Nisar Muhammad , said that the FBR has launched a pilot project in collaboration with the OECD ad UK tax authorities aimed at putting in place necessary apparatus to receive and share information on automatic basis with other Parties to the Convention.
The Minister for Finance and Revenue, Pakistan, Mr. Mohammad Ishaq Dar, signed the Convention in presence of Secretary General of OECD at Paris on 14th September, 2016.
A three member delegation of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax purposes visited Pakistan on 8- 9 March, 2015 for Phase-II Peer Review on-site visit. The delegation consisted of following members:
i. Mr. Radovan Zidek,
Global Forum Representative, OECD, Paris
ii. Mr. Abdulmohsen Nasser Alsuhayl
Department of Zakat and Income Tax Ministry of Finance, Saudi Arabia
iii. Mr Paul Metcalfe,
HM Revenue and Customs, the United Kingdom
On 8th March, a detailed meeting was held which was presided over by Mr. Rehmatullah Khan Wazir Member (IR Policy) and other members of Pakistan delegation consisting of Mr. Mohammad Iqbal Chief (International Taxes), Mr Girdhari Mal, Secretary (Transfer Pricing) and Mr. Tariq Iqbal Secretary (Exchange of Information). In his opening remarks, Mr. Rehmatullah Khan Wazir welcomed the delegation and reaffirmed Pakistan commitment to exchange of information for mutual benefit. Mr. Tariq Iqbal made a brief presentation regarding working of FBR, particularly the Inland Revenue and on the Exchange of Information. Mr. Radovan made a detailed presentation on the activities of Global Forum. Theses presentations were followed by question answer session. Mr. Muhammad Iqbal and other members of Pakistan delegation responded to the questions in detail.
On 9th March, the delegation visited SECP and representatives of State Bank of Pakistan and FMU (Financial Monitoring Unit) also participated in the meeting. Issues pertaining to registration of companies and Anti Money Laundering (AML) were discussed in detail. The delegation also visited the local registration office of SECP and observed the registration process. On return to FBR, the delegation visited the EOI Resource Centre and also examined the recently developed e.portal of EOI. It was followed by a concluding session and the delegation was given shields and souvenirs by the Member (IR Policy).