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ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has detected discrepancies of around Rs3 billion in deduction and payment of withholding tax in various projects of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

A special study, "deduction and remittance of withholding tax" conducted by the AGP, revealed unlawful refund of income tax to the contractors; non-deduction of sales tax from the suppliers; unauthorised deposit of the WHT; non-deposit of the WHT; non/less deduction of income tax from the consultants, and less deposit of the income tax into the government treasury.

The department being the withholding agent is required to ensure that the right amount of tax is being deducted, while making payments to the contractors, suppliers and consultants and collect the computerised payment receipts (CPRs).

The department is required to ensure that the withholding tax remittances into government treasury and deposit of tax deducted at source along with collection of the CPRs must be within the time limits prescribed in the law.

Tarbela 4th Extension project: TI-P urges ministry to take action against Wapda chief

The department needs to take appropriate actions to improve compliance by the project authorities who do not meet their obligations properly such as issuance of unlawful refunds.

There are issues of understanding among project authorities regarding application of the sales tax.

The department is required to take necessary steps, so that the sales tax is rightly calculated, deducted and properly deposited into the government treasury.

The Directorate General Audit Water Resources conducted the special study covering financial years of 2015-16; 2016-17, and 2017-18 during 2019.

The scope of the study was four Wapda projects i.e. Kachhi Canal Project; Golen Gol Hydropower Project, Chitral; RBOD-III Project Sukkur, and Tarbela 4th Extension Project-Tarbela.

The special study would be beneficial to the management of the Wapda, for making policies to cover the loopholes in the system and developing a mechanism for effective deduction and deposit of taxes in the government exchequer, the report added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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