In a battle between public sector players for the top taxpayers slot, flagship explorer ONGC has stolen a march over the State Bank of India (SBI), the countrys largest lender.
Between Ap RIL and December this year, ONGC paid Rs 6,223 crore as advance tax, which is 34% higher than SBIs payout of Rs 4,643 crore. Even for the third quarter, the story is the same with ONGCs payment rising 43% from last year to Rs 2,742 crore, while SBIs amount saw a 3% increase to Rs 1,795 crore.
During 2009-10 , SBI had narrowly pipped ONGC to emerge the top taxpayer with a payment of Rs 6,552 crore compared to the public sector oil companys Rs 6,283 crore. So far this year, however, the bank has had to set aside more for loan losses and erosion in the value of its bond holdings, which is showing on its tax payment.
According to data available with the tax department, Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries has overtaken steelmaker SAIL and Life Insurance Corporation to emerge as the third-highest taxpayer. In fact, the private player, which paid Rs 3,075 crore tax in 2009-10 , has so far this year paid Rs 3,150 crore, with one more quarter to go.
But the Top 10 chart is largely a public sector arena with RIL and ITC the only private sector representatives. Overall, the government seems to be satisfied as direct tax collection between April and December 15 this year rose by 18% to Rs 2.96 lakh crore.
Among the top 70 companies, NMDC (246% rise), Indian Overseas Bank (200%) and Sesa Goa (180%) were the top gainers.