ISLAMABAD: Tax authorities have recovered Rs218 million from Accountant General Punjab that deducted the tax from the salaries of the provincial government employees but withheld the amount for last three months.
According to an official of Federal Board of Revenue, the amount was deducted from the salaries of the Punjab government employees for the months of December 2011 and January 2012.
The AG Punjab office withheld income tax of Rs100 million for December and Rs118 million for January 2012 but failed to deposit these amounts, added the official.
While the authorities have recovered the due amount, no action has been taken yet against the AG Punjab for misusing public funds.
The FBR is facing a gigantic task of collecting the entire withheld amount, running into billions of rupees, from withholding agents.
For the current financial year, the government has assigned Rs1,952 billion tax collection target to the FBR.
A source said that AG Punjab diverted these funds to the other commitments of the provincial government.
However, a spokesperson of the Punjab Finance Department denied the allegation. While talking to The Express Tribune, Faisal Rasheed said AG Punjab works under administrative control of the federal government and reports to Accountant General of Pakistan. He said on the face of the claim, if the money was not deposited into the exchequer, it is perceived by most that the funds are being used by the Punjab government which is not the case. He, however, did go on to say that the AG Punjab did not perform his duties accordingly.
According to Income Tax Rules 2002, any amount of tax withheld by the federal government or a provincial government is to be paid to the concerned Commissioner of Inland Revenue by way of credit to the federal government on the same day such withholding is made.
The officials said as soon as the said non-payment of tax came in the knowledge of the Chief Commissioner Regional Tax Office-II, Lahore, a special team of Inland Revenue officers was constituted for its recovery.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.
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