In the current financial year till mid-January, Pune region has recorded the highest percentage growth in net direct tax collections among the 18 zones in the country. Pune region comprises the whole of Maharashtra except for Mumbai and 11 districts of Vidarbha, which are different zones for tax assessment purposes. The lead, however, may or may not hold for the remainder of the financial year and one will have to wait till March 31, 2017 to know the exact position.
The 24% growth in net tax collections (after adjusting for refunds) in the region against a national average of 18%, is also a result of lower refunds given out till now. If one accounts for a similar refund share last year, the growth would have been more or less in line with the national average.
"We have achieved 75% of the full year's target against a national average of 69% even when the economic growth has been at (only) about 6%," said A C Shukla, principal chief commissioner of income tax, Pune region. He added that this was achieved by "creating a fear of law and not the law enforcement agency".
Shukla, however, went on to say that the department has conducted an "unprecedented", 220 surveys where the assessees in the region have admitted to Rs 500 crore of unaccounted income. "We are prosecuting these people and there has been a 'quantum jump' in such cases," he said, but refused to disclose further figures.
Overall, Pune ranks fifth in terms of contribution to the nation's tax kitty and this year's full target is Rs 49,697 crore. This corresponds to a little over 5% of the country's overall direct tax collection target of Rs 9.8 lakh crore for the fiscal ending March 31, 2018. Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are the top 4 zones in terms of tax contribution.
Of the total taxes collected, so far, in the region, corporates contributed about 46% and the balance was contributed by individuals.
Shukla, who will superannuate over the next few days and is slated to join as member of the settlement commission of the tax department, said, "Pune's growth is due to 'performance culture', and 'grace of god'." His department refused to divulge details of previous year growth figures for the comparable period.