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Fall in tax collection compounds crisis
November, 23rd 2017

Alleged bureaucratic laxity coupled with the chinks in the tax collection mechanism of the State government are understood to have further deepened the current resource crunch in the State.

Other than the legal and technical hassles faced by the tax sleuths in adapting themselves to the fledgling Goods and Services Tax system, the alleged sloppiness of a section of the officials in stepping up tax collection has come into focus in the wake of the crisis.

The government was forced to impose restrictions on treasury payments and stagger major payments to prevent the precipitation of the crisis.

The maximum collectible arrears of the Value Added Tax has been roughly estimated at around ?5,000 crore. A dogged pursuit of the officials at the top echelons imperative for securing a significant quantum of the arrears and that would have helped at least to ease the resource crunch.

An official source told The Hindu that the lack of initiative by the department personnel in arrear collection, mainly by vacating stay orders and tenaciously pursuing those who owe substantial sums should be addressed immediately to solve the present crisis. Indiscreet granting of stay orders is being cited as one of the prime reasons for the current impasse.

The arrears to be collected through revenue recovery proceedings have been pegged at around ?2,900 crore and by Inspecting Assistant Commissioners at the taluk level at around ?2,300 crore. Action on a war-footing will help to recover a substantial sum from these levels itself, the source said.

Loopholes in assessment need to be addressed and monitoring intensified to ensure optimum collection. The funds crunch is feared to affect the planning and development initiatives too. This is in addition to the committed expenditure such as salary for government employees and service pensioners, servicing of loans and such others.

Repeated entreaties to the Central government to issue a notification to enable the State government to levy tax on inter-State goods movement and also clamp down on tax evaders.

On doing away with check posts and deactivating squads, the floor have been left free for traders to smuggle in goods and the State government remains a mute spectator.

Toning up the system for collecting tax and its arrears alone would offer a respite to the current situation, the source said.

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