The government’s former finance minister Asad Umar announced a couple of months ago that the bar on non-filers buying property valued higher than PKR 5 million would soon be lifted. This provision has now been introduced in this budget.
Technically, non-filers of income tax returns will now be able to purchase property that amounts to more than PKR 5 million. At the same time, however, the current budget seems to have done away with the entire concept of a ‘non-filer’ status from Pakistan’s legal lexicon.
People who are legally required to file their taxes can now be liable to face prosecution if they don’t do so. Moreover, they will be required to pay double the federal taxes (not provincial) in all cases, whether they buy property, cars or perform any other taxable transactions.
So putting all this concisely, non-filers can buy property worth more than PKR 5 million under the new budgetary framework; but they will have to pay double the taxes, and probably have investigative proceedings initiated against them. Now, just to be clear, double the tax for non-filers is not new in most cases, but with this move it has been standardised and imposed more or less across the board.