KARACHI: Finance Minister Asad Umar has directed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to complete the exercise of valuation of property to address the anomaly of difference between fair market value and the rate on which these properties are declared in order to tap real tax potential of this sector. The decision was taken during Finance Minister Asad Umar’s visit of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) last month. The meeting discussed new tax measures for raising revenue. The FBR has directed Member Inland Revenue (Policy) and Directorate of Immoveable Property to complete the exercise of valuation of property. Former finance minister Ishaq Dar had unveiled a three-year programme in August 2016 in consultation with realty-sector stakeholders for an upward revision in property valuations to bring them in line with the market. However, in January 2018, just months before the general elections, the federal government slashed property valuation rates by up to 57 percent for six major cities, partially reversing a policy designed to plug lacunas that caused accumulation of black money. Owing to gaps in tax laws and different property tax rates, real-estate players declare two types of property prices – one for paying provincial taxes and the other for federal taxes. However, both of these prices are far lower than the prevailing market rates. Such a difference has led to the parking of over Rs7 trillion in the real estate market over the years. In June 2016, the government attempted to bridge the gap, but ended up offering a tax amnesty scheme. People legalized over Rs290 billion worth of black money in just three months of the last fiscal year in return for paying a paltry Rs877 million in taxes under the amnesty scheme.