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Indirect tax collections likely to miss target
November, 17th 2009

The government might witness a shortfall of Rs 15,000 crore in indirect tax collections this fiscal against the designated target. The projection clearly suggests that the recovery in the economy failed to enhance government revenue, with indirect tax collections comprising Customs, excise and service tax falling almost 22 per cent in the April-October period this year. The government has set an ambitious target to collect Rs 2,68,000 crore from indirect taxes in the current financial year.

Interacting with the media, Central Board of Excise & Customs Chairman, V Sridhar said, The government took two fiscal stimulus measures to revive the economy last fiscal year, (which includes cut in tax rates), which has affected the tax collection.

So, the decline is mainly on account of the slowdown and a cut in tax rates but revenue collections will improve in the coming months, with the economy showing signs of recovery.

He added customs collection fell in line with a 28 per cent decline in the import of all commodities during April-October period in rupee terms. Also, excise duty declined by 20 per cent, besides fall in service tax collection by 5.6 per cent. It is worth noting that the government has cut service tax by 2 per cent in February 2009.

Commenting upon GST rollout, he said, Our department is fully prepared to roll out GST by April 2010. However, certain consensus on the new taxation is yet to be reached among all the state finance ministers like purchase tax on foodgrains, octroi. etc.

The Department of Central Excise & Service Tax has launched ACES (Automation of C entral E xcise & S ervice Tax), a workflow based application software in Central Excise and Service Tax Commissionerates of Chandigarh-I and Chandigarh-II.

The launch of this system will directly benefit the Central Excise and Service Tax payers in the areas of Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and major parts of Punjab like districts of SAS Nagar, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Bathinda, and Barnala. Chandigarh is the 45th commissionerates where the department rolled its services.

The department plans to roll out this service in all its 104 commissionerates by December 31, 2009. He stated that this centralised web-enabled software would eventually replace the current mode of manual filing of returns, seeking refund/rebate of taxes, obtaining various permissions and approvals from the department and dispute resolution by an electronic interface. We have invested Rs 600 crore in rolling out the services, he added further.

ACES is a Mission Mode Project of the Government of India under the national e-governance plan. The software also has features to generate business-related alerts and messages. With the roll-out of ACES, the taxpayers time and cost in complying with the tax provisions will come down drastically. It will also improve the efficiency of the department.

He also said, We are planning to install scanners for containers and mobile scanners in 12 ports, including land customs in first phase. We have earmarked Rs. 200 crore for this project.

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