Govt to miss PAC deadline to collect CGT from Ncell

Kathmandu, April 13

Even as the deadline given by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Legislature-Parliament to the government to collect applicable Capital Gains Tax (CGT) from Ncell ends this Saturday, the government seems to have made no progress in this regard.

Rather, government agencies responsible to sort out this matter seem to be avoiding the issue altogether and are busy blaming one another for dilly-dallying.

Following the delay by the government to recover the applicable taxes from Ncell purchase deal, PAC on January 15, had directed Ministry of Finance (MoF) to collect all dues related to TeliaSonera-Axiata deal of Ncell from the domestic telecom company Ncell within three months.

TeliaSonera-Axiata deal

December 21, 2015

Axiata and TeliaSonera sign ‘conditional sale and purchase agreement’

April 11, 2016

Axiata says it acquires 60.4pc stake in Ncell for Rs 109.86bn

May 8, 2016

Ncell deposits Rs 9.97bn in state coffers which is 15pc of capital gains tax made by TeliaSonera while selling Ncell to Axiata

January 15, 2017

PAC instructs govt to recover CGT within three months

April 9, 2017

PM says govt committed to collect CGT

Moreover, Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi and Director General of Inland Revenue Department (IRD) Chudamani Sharma had pledged to collect such taxes from Ncell within the given time. However, the government is unlikely to meet the PAC deadline as government agencies continue to focus only on passing the buck rather than resolving the issue.

“We had directed IRD to work as per the direction of the Parliamentary committee and we hope that the department is working on the Ncell issue,” Rajan Khanal, revenue secretary of MoF, said.

However, MoF has not yet taken any progress report regarding the Ncell tax issue from IRD, though the MoF’s self-declared deadline to collect taxes from Ncell will expire in two days. According to Khanal, MoF will soon ask for progress report on Ncell issue and present it to PAC.

On the other hand, Sharma refused to make any comments on progress made on tax issue of Ncell. “The Large Taxpayer Office (LTO) is responsible to sort out the Ncell’s CGT matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, Balram Rijal, chief of LTO, said that there is no possibility to complete all tax assessments related to Ncell within the deadline given by PAC. According to him, the expert committee formed under LTO is investigating the tax issue related to Ncell and has asked for an extension to the deadline.

“The expert committee has only acquired preliminary reports and is still examining it,” Rijal said, adding TeliaSonera had not submitted all necessary documents related to the Ncell deal and the expert committee can work effectively only after TeliaSonera provides a response on the issue. Nonetheless, Rijal vowed that the government would collect all applicable taxes related to Ncell deal at any cost.

As April 15 is the self-declared deadline of the government to collect applicable taxes from Ncell, the MoF cannot exceed the deadline, as per PAC Chairman Dor Prasad Upadhyay. “As soon as the deadline is crossed, we will seek a clarification from MoF and other related bodies of the government,” he said.

Moreover, the PAC meeting on Sunday, which was attended by Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, had reiterated its direction to MoF to collect taxes from Ncell by the given deadline.