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Tuesday, Aug 03, 2004

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Task force to recover indirect tax arrears

K.R. Srivats

New Delhi , Aug 2

THE Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has decided to constitute a dedicated task force for recovery of the indirect tax arrears that are due to the exchequer.

The decision to set up a dedicated task force follows the recent diktat of the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, who had asked top officials of the Customs and Excise Department to undertake major initiatives for recovery of indirect tax arrears, especially the undisputed tax arrears.

Informed sources said that the task force would comprise a Chief Commissioner, four commissioners and four joint commissioners (two each for customs and central excise).

"The main focus of the task force would be to devise effective strategies and develop innovative approaches to collection of tax arrears. It would also be responsible for monitoring and implementation of the arrears collection strategy and ensuring effective co-ordination between the field formations and the appellate authorities, so that the collection targets are achieved," sources said.

The indirect tax arrears are estimated at about Rs 15,000 crore (including the undisputed tax arrears of about Rs 3,000 crore).

At the annual conference of Chief Commissioners of Customs and Excise held in the Capital last week, the Finance Minister had sought new ideas and strategies from the Chief Commissioners to bolster indirect tax collections and prevent leakages of revenues due to fraud and corruption.

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