KARACHI: The bankers involved in lobbying against the authority of tax officers to access banking details of individuals as well as corporate, might get penalized harshly including one year imprisonment.
In the amended Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 a new proviso had been added describing that where any person failed to furnish a statement as required under Section 115, 165 or 165-A within the due date then such person would pay a penalty of Rs. 2500 for each day of default subject to minimum penalty of Rs50,000.
In case a banker deliberately obstructed the FBR from getting information for a long period then sections regarding prosecutions would be invoked.
The prosecution for obstructing defined in Section 196 of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 said: “A person who obstructs an income tax authority in discharge of functions under this Ordinance shall commit an offence punishable on conviction with a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.”
Despite strong opposition from banks and other stakeholders the government in the latest budget inserted a new section 165-A to the Ordinance making mandatory to banking companies to give FBR online access to central data.
Under the law now banking companies are bound to furnish:
— Online access to its central database containing details of its account holders and all transactions made in their accounts.
— A list containing particulars of deposits aggregating rupees one million or more made during the preceding calendar month.
— A list of payments made by any person against bills raised in respect of a credit card issued to that person, aggregating to rupees one hundred thousand or more during the preceding calendar month.
— A consolidated list of loans written off exceeding rupees one million during a calendar year.
— A copy of each currency transaction report and suspicious transactions report generated and submitted by it to the Financial Monitoring Unit under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.
It may be mentioned here that section 198 of the Income Tax Ordinance provides prosecution for unauthorised disclosure of information by a public servant. “A person who discloses any particulars in contravention of section 216 shall commit an offence punishable on conviction with a fine of not less than five hundred thousand rupees or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.”