MoF failed to contain tax refunds: PAC

New Delhi, Aug 3 | Updated: Aug 4 2005, 05:32am hrs
The public accounts committee (PAC) has pulled up the finance ministry for not taking adequate steps to minimise tax refunds which range from 5.3 to 43.4% of collections.

The 15th report of PAC, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday said that it was dismayed to find that the steps taken by the ministry are too general and lack specifics. The report was tabled by PAC chairman Vijay Kumar Malhotra (BJP).

The committee is of the view that the outflow of the government revenue in the form of interest on refund could have been avoided had the finance ministry paid greater attention to prevent computational mistakes and other procedural irregularities through internal audit mechanism.

It pointed out that the action taken report (ATR) of the ministry did not contain any specific order, direction, circular number etc., regarding the instructions given to field formations on the steps taken by the government to strengthen the mechanism for checking computation of refunds.

The committee sought report from the ministry on the progress of implementation new software as well as the impact of the training imparted to assessing officers. It suggested that the progress report should be supported by appropriate data.

The committee also urged the ministry to set up a body to look into the departments problems of shortage of staff, heavy workload and slow movement of assessment files, irregularities/mistakes which were not detected by their internal audit. This should be done with a view to ensuring that such mistakes/problems are remedied at the earliest.

Referring to the issue of delay in issue of refunds, the committee urged the finance ministry to strengthen the internal procedures. This could help in avoiding payment in interest which is required to be paid on delayed refunds.

The committee also noted with concern that no action had been taken on the report of fact finding committee which was set up to fix responsibility in respect of cases involving inordinate delay in payment of refunds.