Economy

Direct tax collection picks up

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 18, 2019 Published on September 18, 2019

But it is still far short of the targeted 16% growth rate in mop-up for the full year

Direct tax collection numbers for the half year to September have brought some cheer for the government, which is battling revenue shortfalls.

The numbers for April-September (2019-20) have edged past those from the same period last year, but they are still well short of the target.

According to sources, the total direct tax collection was about ₹5.5-lakh crore against ₹5.25-lakh crore during April-September 2018-19. The net collection (deducting refunds) was about ₹4.5-lakh crore (against ₹4.25-lakh crore). Advance tax collection touched ₹2.2-lakh crore (against ₹2.05-lakh crore).

The government has set a direct tax collection target of ₹13.35-lakh crore for this fiscal year, which is 16 per cent higher than the Budget estimate (₹11.50-lakh crore) and 11.25 per cent higher than the revised estimate (₹12-lakh crore). To meet the target, tax authorities now have to collect ₹7.85-lakh crore in six months, a growth of over 20 per cent, which seems challenging.

Since GST collections too have been muted, the total tax collection poses a challenge, given that the government is keen to keep the fiscal deficit within the Budget estimate of 3.3 per cent of GDP. With the slowdown in many sectors likely to affect indirect tax collections, experts feel the government may have to rework the deficit number.

Of every rupee coming into the coffers, 68 paise will be from direct and indirect taxes. Corporation tax, the single-largest source, contributes 21 paise; income tax will yield 16 paise; and GST collections 19 paise.

The government is working overtime to improve tax collections. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held meetings with stakeholders in the tax system in many cities; tax administrators were urged to drive collections while keeping taxpayers’ sensitivities in mind.

The I-T Department is to introduce two key measures from next month. To reduce harassment, tax authorities will issue summons and notices through a centralised computer system, which will contain a computer-generated unique Document Identification Number (DIN). Any communication issued without DIN will be non est in law. All notices need to be disposed of within three months of the date of reply.

And from October 8, the I-T Department will start faceless and paperless income tax proceedings. It will set up national and regional e-assessment centres and assessment units for electronic assessments and proceedings, including refunds. The national centre will send notices to assessees explaining why their case were taken up for assessment; the assessee will have 15 days to respond. The centre will then allocate the case to an assessing officer using an automated system,

Published on September 18, 2019
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