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Direct tax mop-up may not meet target
January, 27th 2012

With industrial growth picking up, the finance ministry is hopeful of meeting its budgeted target for indirect tax collections, but its direct tax kitty may fall short of the Budget estimate by Rs 20,000 crore.

A finance ministry official said there could be a shortfall of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore on the direct tax front. Net direct tax collections in the first nine months (April-December 2011) stood at Rs 3,23,955 crore, 61 per cent of the Budget estimate of Rs 5,32,651 crore for 2011-12. Indirect tax collections went up 42.8 per cent to Rs 2,37,192 crore during the nine-month period, which is 75.7 per cent of the estimate of Rs 3,13,471 crore for 2011-12.

To improve the direct tax collections, the revenue department is cracking down on tax evaders. It has launched a special drive to verify all high-value transactions from persons who are not assessed to income tax or who have not furnished their Permanent Account Number, while entering into such transaction.
The government is expecting Rs 7,000 crore of dividend from public sector undertakings, taking the total collection in the current financial year to Rs 30,000 crore. Another Rs 1,500 crore is likely to come in the form of dividend distribution tax, a finance ministry official said.

This comes after the ministry held a series of consultations with heads of PSUs and state-run banks to persuade them raise the dividend payout to the government.

Dividend payouts could be a substantial source of non-tax revenue for the government, especially at a time when it is trying to restrict its fiscal deficit to 4.6 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

According to guidelines, all profit-making PSUs are expected to declare a minimum dividend of 20 per cent of their net profit or equity, whichever is higher. The minimum dividend payout for companies in oil, petroleum, chemical and other infrastructure sectors is 30 per cent.

In 2010-11, the government collected Rs 25,978 crore as dividend from public sector enterprises. The Budget Estimate for revenue from dividends is Rs 42,623 crore this year, lower than the revised estimate of Rs 48,727 crore for 2010-11. Of Rs 42,623 crore, Rs 23,494 is budgeted from PSUs and Rs 19,129 crore from Reserve Bank of India, nationalised banks and financial institutions.

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