My Republica, April 15, 2019
KATHMANDU: Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has included Rs 90 billion in 'revenue to be recovered' after auditing government's financial reports of Fiscal Year 2017/18.
The new addition means revenue to be recovered has increased by a whopping 56 percent to Rs 252 billion, according to the Auditor General's 56th Audit Report made public on Friday. Accumulated outstanding revenue was only Rs 161 billion till last fiscal year.
OAG has explained that the revenue to be recovered increased significantly in FY2017/18 due to a taxpayer. Though the report doesn't name the taxpayer, it is Ncell obviously. Similarly, the report says another taxpayer owes another Rs 11.87 billion to the government.
The audit report has also attributed whopping growth in revenue to be recovered to government's slackness in monitoring and proper record keeping of those dues. Many had believed that taxpayers started paying their taxes on time and that revenue to be recovered will decrease following the government's decision against forming another Tax Settlement Commission. But it didn't happen.
The government is preparing to revise the Tax Settlement Commission Act. The commission wrote off billions in taxes in 2015 without considering the impact. This forced the government to file a corruption case has been filed against three commissioners of the commission.
According to the report, an accumulated Rs 122 billion of income tax and Rs 23.77 billion VAT were expected to be recovered by FY2017/18.
Taxpayers, having liability of Rs 47 billion to the state coffers, however, have made an appeal against the decision. The court has yet to give final verdict into the case.
The audit report states that outstanding revenue is accumulating as most of the cases are sub judice in different courts.
An analysis of the audit report shows that revenue dues in several cases may be hard to recover or may take many years because of public enterprises which are no more in operation, absentee taxpayers and sub judice cases which could go on for years.
With outstanding revenue piling up, the OAG has suggested to the government to run a campaign for effective revenue collection by putting in place clear policy and laws, among others.
Rising revenue to be recovered has raised eyebrows of some retired tax officials. They attributed burgeoning figures to wrong audit reporting and revenue counting method. "The tax office has not yet assessed the tax in case of Ncell. Therefore, it should be put under simple unaccounted amount," a retired tax official said, requesting anonymity.