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I-T weighs steps to up excise collection
October, 05th 2006
Encouraged by the growth shown by customs and service tax collections, the revenue department is looking at ways to raise excise duty mop-up. Excise is the only indirect tax which has shown marginal growth as compared with other indirect taxes. This is mainly because of the large number of exemptions given by the government. There is definitely a case for a closer look, revenue secretary KM Chandrashekhar said. Pointing that while the administration of income tax and customs had undergone an overhaul, he said now it was the turn of excise to be focused on. He said the Central Board of Excise and Customs was looking at the audit procedures and how they can be worked on to prevent any evasion and ensure proper reporting of taxes. The government has brought in new measures like annual information return to track evasion in income tax. It is also examining a new income tax act which has been prepared by an expert group in the ministry. In customs, electronic data interchange has been brought in to bring in transparency in its functioning. The government had collected Rs 33,074 crore in excise duty up to July 06, against Rs 30,074 crore in the previous year, witnessing a growth of 8.8%. This may look decent when compared with the 6.5% growth target set in the Budget, which has estimated a total collections for 06-07 at Rs 1,17,967 crore. But, it is way below the growth rates recorded in collections of other indirect taxes like customs and service tax at 33.5% and 63.5%, respectively. It may be noted that excise forms the largest chunk in the governments tax kitty. Experts say the slide in collections is also because of the fact that duty rates have been coming down. In fact, in 05-06 there was a shortfall of 8.3% between Budget estimates and the actual collections figure, as per the CGA accounts. Mr Chandrashekhar said provisions have already been made to involve chartered accountants in cases of excise duty review (desk review), by the department. Services of chartered accountants and cost accountants are used in an advisory capacity for cases of audit of very large assessees having complicated accounting systems and voluminous transactions, like audit of multi-location units.
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