The government has asked telecom companies including Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices to submit supporting documents on AGR self-assessment that formed the basis of their statutory dues calculation, according to a DoT source.
The source, who did not wish to be named, said the exercise will help the Department of Telecom (DoT) examine the AGR calculations being made by the telecom players.
All three telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices have been asked to provide substantiating documents to support their claims on AGR arithmetic, the DoT official added. However, no deadline has been given to companies to submit the supporting documents.
Once substantiating documents are filed by the companies, the telecom department will initiate random test checks on the AGR calculation in a time-bound manner. The ‘test check’ will be done for any one year (of telcos’ dues) to examine the deviation between telecom companies’ assessment and the government calculation of AGR liabilities.
Asked what prompted the department to seek supporting documents to verify AGR-math done by companies through self-assessment, the source equated the exercise to filing of income tax returns where the assessing authority examines the calculations/claims made.
Moreover, the DoT wants to ensure that the court-mandated criteria is being followed by companies in computing their AGR dues, the source added.
While the three operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices – are first off the block, the DoT will also follow the same procedure for all other AGR-hit companies including internet service providers.
“For those who are saying we are giving dues by self-assessment, we will seek supporting documents. If some companies say they are going by DoT’s calculation, then we don’t need to do it,” the source added.
In all, 15 entities owe the government Rs 1.47 lakh crore in unpaid statutory dues — Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges. Of the estimated dues that include interest and penalty for late payments, Airtel and Vodafone Idea account for about 60 per cent.