ISLAMABAD: Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, has been stated to have a tax liability of Rs35 million on account of her foreign assets and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has slapped a penalty of Rs35million on her.
The above information was stated in a 164-page order issued by Commissioner Inland Revenue and International Taxes Zone Zulfiqar Ahmed on September 14.
This decision may have bearing on Justice Isa’s future as a Supreme Court judge in line to become the chief justice of Pakistan.
The judge’s wife has accused the FBR as well as the incumbent federal government of mala fide and announced she will challenge the FBR decision at a higher forum.
In June of this year, 10 judge Supreme Court bench suppressed a presidential reference that had accused Justice Isa of misconduct based on non-disclosure of his family’s UK properties in his wealth statement.
However, the bench had also directed the FBR to investigate Isa’s familial assets abroad and submit a report to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which is the constitutional forum with the authority to hold a superior court judge accountable.
Sarina, in a written statement, cast doubt on the order and went on to accuse FBR official Zulfiqar Ahmed of creating “artificial tax liability of over Rs35 million” against her.
“I don’t even know if he wrote the order himself,” she added. Under the Supreme Court June 19 split order, Sarina may use all legal options against the FBR order.
Sarina went on to reject the FBR official’s referring to her alleged refusal to deliver the FBR notice, citing that her father had passed away on that day.
In the statement, she claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan was leading “a team” aiming to victimize her husband and his family in a bid to remove Justice Isa from his position.
She further remarked that Zulfiqar is part of this so-called team, and said, “Mr Zulfiqar in his notices referred to documents and information which I repeatedly requested [but] was not provided. This did not prevent him [to use these documents] against me. The voluminous order too does not attach these documents.”
On August 28, Isa’s wife in her reply had asked the official for a personal hearing.
“However, Mr Zulfiqar Ahmed has passed an order against me without once hearing me. He has condemned me unheard.”
“[He] does not say whether he decided all cases with hearing the taxpayer or his special treatment is for a taxpayer who happens to be married to a judge Mr Imran Khan’s government is desperate to remove,” she added.
Sarina termed the order as “fiction” as it disregarded most of her salary as a teacher of the Karachi American School, the profits earned from the selling of her two properties at Karachi’s Clifton area, and her agricultural land income.
Last month, she had disputed the FBR’s assessment about her income as well as the value of her foreign properties.
“You finally accept that I was a working woman but then qualify it by saying that I only had taxed source only to the tune of Rs9,375,931. You have also determined the purchase of three properties at Rs104,680,020.
“I do not know where you have taken the figure of Rs93,75931 from as you do not provide the details nor [tell] how you have determined the amount of Rs104,680,020. Please do so now,”
She, on August 21, had requested the official to provide the documents which were relied upon in assessment as well as a copy of all her returns.
“I do not know from which date you started [reckoning] my earning. Is it the date from which I started working at the school or when I started to submit my own returns?
“I also do not know whether you added the non-taxable part of my earnings in my earnings. Please answer my questions and provide copies of tax filing of the school and copies of all my returns.”
Regarding the office in the Clifton area, which was rented out, she said she had bought it with a friend, and that. income tax is not payable on a certain percentage of amount from the rent.
This property was later sold that office at a profit, and Sarina questioned whether the FBR had taken this into account. “Have you taken the sale consideration into account and treated it as part of my savings?” she asked.
She said she also purchased a house at Clifton which was also rented out. The rent income was disclosed and tax was also paid after permissible deductions.
Sarina further revealed that she owned 2,243 kanals of land, which had been managed by her father until his passing on June 25 this year.
Justice Isa’s wife claimed that due to shortage of time, she was unable to give the exact amount which she earned from agricultural land, but insisted that the amount of income would easily cover the price of the three properties in the UK.
“Once I visit Jacobabad and Nasirabad then I will be able to provide you information about earning from these lands,” she added.
Sarina stated that she invested income from the agricultural land in saving certificates issued by the government of Pakistan.
“The price of the UK pounds and the USA dollars was less than they were bought. I do not accept as alleged by you that the price of properties was Rs104,680,020. Where have you taken the figure from?” she had questioned.