CGA finds Tk 13,000cr gap in NBR revenue data for FY17

NBR suspects field offices inflated data

Jasim Uddin | Published: 00:05, Mar 16,2018 | Updated: 23:36, Mar 15,2018

 
 

A file photo shows the National Board of Revenue headquarters in Dhaka. The NBR has asked its field offices to provide actual revenue collection data for 2016-2017 fiscal by March 27 as it suspects the field offices provided inflated data to take credit of achieving targets. — New Age photo

The National Board of Revenue has asked its field offices to provide actual revenue collection data for 2016-2017 fiscal by March 27 as it suspects the field offices provided inflated data to take credit of achieving targets.
The move was taken on Tuesday after the office of the Controller General of Accounts said that it got Tk 13,493 crore less in revenue in FY17 than the estimation of the revenue board.
According to the CGA, Tk 1,71,510 crore in income tax, VAT and customs duty was deposited to the government exchequer in the year while the revenue board claimed they had realised Tk 1,85,003 crore against the revised target of Tk 1,85,000 crore.
The CGA, government’s account office, said that there was no trace of the gap amount, which is 7.30 per cent of the reported revenue collection by the NBR.
The gap in revenue figures in the two offices has been widening over the years.
In 2010-2011 fiscal, the gap was only Tk 2,923 crore, which swelled to Tk 12,645 crore in 2014-2015 fiscal and declined to Tk 7,373 crore in 2015-2016 fiscal before doubling in the last fiscal.
The revenue board on Tuesday held a meeting, presided over by its chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, to find out the reasons and reconcile the gap.
The meeting also decided to form a joint working group to ensure coordination between the two offices.
‘Field offices of income tax, customs and value-added tax wing of the NBR were asked to furnish actual figures of revenue collection with explanations of the difference with the CGA office,’ according to the meeting minutes made available on Thursday.
The NBR will hold meetings with the CGA and the Finance Division of the finance ministry on the issue after getting data from the field offices, it said.
Officials of the revenue board said that it seemed field offices reported exaggerated data regarding revenue collection to take credit of meeting the targets.
They might do it spontaneously or in line with instructions of the NBR high-ups as there was huge pressure to meet the targets, they said.
They also cited problems in calculation methods and lack of coordination among tax offices as reasons behind the gap.
Sometimes, field offices adjusted the taxes deducted by government offices as source tax particularly in May or June in their accounts but the amount does not reflect in the integrated budget and accounting system of the CGA on time as
 the tax after June, said a senior NBR official.
He said that income tax field offices also sometimes included an amount just after getting the pay order from the taxpayer and later submitted the documents regarding the amount to the CGA.
The CGA recognises any tax collection after getting the treasury challan against the pay order.
Sometimes, taxpayers deposit taxes against account code of a field office though the amount is supposed to be deposited at another office and in such a case, both the offices claim the amount in their accounts.
These technical problems may cause some differences but the gap should not be so high on any ground, the official said.
For example, he said, the gap of Income Tax Zone-2 alone stood at more than Tk 8,000 crore. The zone showed its collection at Tk 12,000 crore but the CGA found documents for Tk 4,000 crore.
The problems should be addressed as any mismatch in fiscal data causes problems in the government’s financial planning, officials said.
Any false or inflated data creates fiscal indiscipline leading the government to recast its budget propositions, they said.
At the meeting, NBR chairman instructed all the commissioners not to include any data related to tax collection without proper documentation or main treasury challan.
He also asked the officials to reconcile revenue collection every month in coordination with field level accounts offices. 

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