The advance tax contribution of the top ten advance tax paying companies grew only 6.6 per cent up to the December 15 instalment on a year-on-year basis. This was in sharp contrast to the near 30 per cent year-on-year growth witnessed in contributions of the top ten advance taxpayers at the same time last year.
However, the absolute advance tax payout of the top ten advance taxpayers were higher so far this fiscal at Rs 23,129 crore as against Rs 22,197 crore in the same period last year.
The flagging growth rate in the contributions of the top ten advance taxpayers is suggestive of a slowdown in the economy, say economists and tax experts. This trend would be some cause for concern for the revenue department that is faced with somewhat daunting direct tax collection target of Rs 3,95,000 crore this fiscal.
In fact, the mid-year review of the economy, tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, noted that the industrial slowdown could have some impact on the revenue buoyancy in the current fiscal and that we may need to live with it.
ONGC. State Bank of India and SAIL held the top three positions, according to data available with revenue department. This league comprised Tata Steel, Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation continued to hold the top position in this group, with its advance tax payments up to December 15 this fiscal at Rs 5,468 crore. This was, however, lower than advance tax of Rs 6,273 crore paid by the navratna up to December 15, 2007. For the December 15 instalment in 2008, ONGC paid advance tax of Rs 1,723 crore (Rs 2,802 crore).
The second highest in the league was State Bank of India, whose advance tax payout stood at Rs 3,923 crore (Rs 2,645 crore). For the December 15 instalment this year, SBI forked out Rs 1,700 crore (Rs 1,088 crore). SAILs advance tax payment for the December 15 instalment stood at Rs 751 crore (Rs 1,130 crore).