Tax evasion: personal bank accounts being used for business transactions

Kathmandu, Jan 24: The trend of using personal bank accounts for business transactions to evade taxes is on the rise in the country, according to the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

The annual report of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-Nepal), NRB released Tuesday stated that 37 per cent of suspicious transaction reports received from January 2020 to December 2022 were related to the suspicious tax evasion through use of personal bank accounts for business transactions, adding, monthly 65 such suspicious transactions on average were received by FIU-Nepal during this period.

According to the central bank, 48 per cent of such business transactions were linked with proprietorship business, 33 per cent with private limited companies and 19 per cent of such firms’ registration status remained unknown.

“Nature of such involved businesses are trading, manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, travels, medical etc. Multiple personal accounts were found to be used for transactions for a single business. For such transactions, personal accounts of the proprietor or shareholder is used in most of the cases. Other involved are: family members, employees,” the report revealed.

The FIU-Nepal analysed 204 such cases and 113 were disseminated to the Department of Revenue Investigation and Inland Revenue Department for further investigation.

“Based on disseminated cases, the suspicious amount is approximately Rs 12 billion on an annual basis,” it stated.

In its recommendation, the report has urged all the stakeholders to play an active role for harmonization in the nature of business and the type of account used for the related transactions.

The customers are recommended to be aware on types of accounts and its purpose at the time of customer onboarding and on a regular basis while the business firms and companies need to be made aware regarding use of firm’s or company’s account while conducting business related transactions.

Likewise, the regulators have been urged to impose fines and penalties on use of personal saving accounts for business related transactions. The use of personal bank accounts for business related transactions should be discouraged through directives. Furthermore, the investigating agencies are recommended to include the personal accounts of shareholders, promoters, proprietors, key staffers and their close associates while undergoing tax assessment or any other kind of investigation.