The government has extended the date for Voluntary Declaration of Income Scheme to mid-February 2002. It was hoped that the drive, initially planned to run from November 2001 to mid-January 2002, would bring in unaccounted-for income in the region of Rs 4.42 billion into the tax net. Actual revenue collection in the campaign has until now been no more than Rs 442.1 million. By government estimates, about 300,000 Nepalis pay income tax and Nepal has another 100,000 registered taxpayers.
The revenue department's deal was "declare unaccounted income and pay 10 percent of the present value of accumulated wealth, or face investigation and possible confiscation of undeclared property." The campaign has had a flip side-essentially, the government is supposed to have sent letters to businesses and business leaders who are already taxpayers "reminding" them about the deal, in addition to bombarding the media with adverts hinting that every one who owns a three-story house or a car (even on a bank loan) was a defaulter. "They were harassing the same few who already pay the taxes," a businessman told us. "We only hope they send similar reminders to their own colleagues in the party and in government this time."