March requires 20% jump to meet year's goal; CBDT chief tells staff to sweat it out to meet target
Direct tax collection grew by 10.7 per cent in the first 11 months of this financial year (April 2016 till February 2017) over the same period a year before, less than the set target.
The full-year target is Rs 8.47 lakh crore or 14.3 per cent more. With Rs 6.17 lakh crore collected in these 11 months, March has to see a 20-plus per cent growth to achieve the target.
The subdued tax numbers were due to fall in growth of both corporation tax due to still-awaited recovery in the performance of companies and personal income tax in April-February compared to April-January period.
“We are hopeful of achieving the target. Net tax collections have been low due to substantially higher refunds issued compared to the previous financial year. Besides, the corporate sector is yet to show a pick-up,” said a government official.
Corporation tax growth was 2.6 per cent up to February, slower than the 2.9 per cent in the period to January. Personal income tax grew 20 per cent up to February, against 23.1 per cent till January. Total direct collection growth was 10.8 per cent till January.
Refunds in the April-February period were 40 per cent higher at Rs 1.52 lakh crore from the corresponding period of 2015-16. Including the refunds, direct tax growth was 15.4 per cent in the April-February period.
Last year, the government had to revise downward the estimate for direct taxes to Rs 752,021 crore (Rs 7,520.21 billion), from the earlier Rs 797,995 crore (Rs 7,979.95 billion).
The revised figure was also missed by Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion).
However, the revised estimates and Budget estimates are more or less the same at Rs 8.47 lakh crore for the current financial year.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chief Sushil Chandra has directed his officers to enhance efforts to meet the ‘sacrosanct’ target. In a series of video conference meetings and written communications, he has asked them to personally review and monitor the position of collections - through advance tax, tax deducted at source (TDS) and recovery from arrears and current demand - on a weekly basis.
“The chairman is holding regular meetings. He has been emphasising that no efforts must be spared to achieve the target and to pay special attention to collections through advance tax, TDS and dividend distribution tax (DDT),” an official said.
The department has also been asked to expedite recovery of tax arrears, up to Rs 9 lakh crore in various stages. It is also banking on proceeds from declarations under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) and the second tranche of the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS).
The government is expecting about Rs 5,500 crore from the latter. The tax in IDS is 45 per cent of the sum declared. Declarants under the scheme were allowed to pay 25 per cent of the tax by November 30, another 25 per cent by March 31 and the rest by September 30.
Of the Rs 55,000 crore (Rs 550 billion) of valid declarations, Rs 8,000 crore of tax came in the first instalment, which included full payment by many to get rid of demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
With muted response so far to PMGKY, Chandra is learnt to have asked officers to emulate the Chandigarh zone, which has carried out 150 search and seizure operations in less than a month to get declarations under the scheme.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com