Nothing personal about PAN numbers in Punjab

This motto of Alexander Dumas’ ‘Three Musketeers’ and the traditional motto of Switzerland might well become the slogan of the Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab.

Written by Gautam Dheer | Chandigarh | Published:March 14, 2009 2:31 am

Thanks to flawed data inputs by E&T dept,hundreds have same PAN,TIN across state

“One for all,and all for one.” This motto of Alexander Dumas’ ‘Three Musketeers’ and the traditional motto of Switzerland might well become the slogan of the Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab. Thanks to the flawed data inputs to the hi-tech information systems of the department,hundreds of dealers have the same permanent account number and tax-payer’s identification number. In many cases,dealers had more than one TIN for the same company.

And,to top it all,about 1,500 dealers in the state were registered even before the date on which they applied for registration of their trade with the Excise and Taxation Department.

In as many as 104 cases,the PAN number of different dealers in the state was shown as the same,states the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General,tabled in the Punjab Assembly last week. The tax-payer’s identification number (TIN) was the same in as many as 201 cases.

The discrepancies surfaced during an audit conducted between January and July 2008 in various offices across five Punjab districts. In 33 cases detected,dealers had more than one TIN for the same company.

The application software was to protect unauthorised alteration of data by implementing logical access controls. Interestingly,the same password for access was used by several users,defeating the purpose. The report says at least 550 users were using 181 passwords against one password for one user. One of the essential databases is of the names of the dealers. According to the report,in about 3,000 cases of registration,the dealer’s name was mentioned as “not available”.

The irrelevancy of data inputs and lack of validation controls leading to data inaccuracies was so blatant that in 34 cases,the quarter ending date is prior to the quarter starting date.

The CAG report also points to the unauthorised alteration of data maintained in the upgraded system of computerisation of VAT information system (COVIS).

The report says 68 dealers of Fatehgarh Sahib imported goods worth Rs 9.6 crore through a barrier which involved 209 transactions. However,the value of these transactions was modified from Rs 9.6 crore to Rs 3.32 crore. The audit report also talks about investigating the presence of duplicate bill numbers in the system to establish whether dealers are resorting to the practice of tax evasions. When asked about the dealer registration even before one applies,a senior official of the department,requesting anonymity,said,“We are aware of these cases. They are the ones who were registered before COVIS was put in place. Since they were included in the master data base of the system later,the date of registration come prior to the date of applying for registration.”

On other anomalies pointed out by CAG,the official said,“They could be data entry errors. We keep on rectifying it from time to time.”

For all the latest Cities News, download Indian Express App

  1. No Comments.