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Tax defaulters face action as CBDT looks to meet targets
November, 30th 2009

The government has decided to crackdown on corporates and individuals that have defaulted on payment of their self-assessment in the year in a bid to boost direct tax collections that are well below the target for the year.

Direct tax collections need to grow at 18% over the remaining five months of the fiscal 2009-10 ending March 2010 for the government to achieve its direct tax target for the year.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes - the apex direct tax body that administers corporate tax, personal income tax and wealth tax - has asked its field officials to crack down on companies that have not paid self-assessed tax for the year.

Corporate taxpayers could not only receive demand notices but also a visit from the taxman itself as the I-T department gears up for increased surveys and searches to nab evaders and boost tax collections. Self assessment tax is the amount payable by the taxpayer if his tax liability as assessed by him is than the advance tax paid by him.

The CBDT has collected data on about over 9,000 taxpayers from the electronically filed tax returns in the period April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009 through its software tracking system. The scrutiny has revealed a shortfall of about Rs 2,000 crore in self-assessment tax despite assesses showing it as paid in their returns, a finance ministry official told ET.

In a letter sent last week, the CBDT has also asked its field forces to investigate about Rs 90,000 crore of tax exemption claimed by various corporate taxpayers on account of various tax holidays in their returns.

Tax holiday schemes, including special economic zones, Software Technology Park of India, export oriented units scheme and those for infrastructure, food processing sectors are under focus.

The board has circulated a detailed list of taxpayers, the amount of tax due from them, tax exemption claimed for the field officers to carry out detailed investigations and collect due tax. E-filing of tax returns is mandatory for all corporates and assesses who have to be submitting audited results. Any delay in self assessment tax attracts a 1% a month interest levy for the delay and some penalty.

The board's letter to the field comes in the backdrop of a dismal 3.92% growth in direct tax collections in first seven months (April-October 2009) of the financial year. Corporate tax collections grew by 4.59% in same period, making the collection of enhanced target of Rs 4,00,000 crore, a Herculean task. The rate of growth has to be over 18% for the rest of the year for CBDT to achieve this target for the year 2009-10.

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