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Direct tax collections grow by 11.9% in Apr-Jan, 2008-09
February, 04th 2009

Direct tax collections grew by a modest 11.9% in April-January, 2008-09 to Rs 2,47,131 crore, much slower than the projected rate of
16.9% required to achieve the target set in the budget.

The Income Tax department has chalked out an intensive strategy to shore up collections and to ensure that budget target of Rs 3,65,000 crore is achieved, a senior income tax department official said. The department has already raised an additional tax demand of Rs 1,24,401 crore after conducting a scrutiny of tax returns filed by taxpayers. Collection of tax arrears is also on track, with the department managing to collect Rs 7,000 crore in the current financial year as compared to Rs 5790 crore in 2007-08.

The department is going whole hog after tax evaders, making efficient use of technology and data captured through e-filing of returns, the official said.

All companies that have shown a decline of more than 10% in advance tax payments in December are under the department 's scanner. The official said there is a general tendency in taxpayers to defer tax payments and pay it later with penalty, when interest rates are high. Collections from tax deducted at source are also in focus. Data has shown that a number of companies were deducting tax at source(TDS) but not depositing it with the department, the official pointed.

Companies that deposited TDS till last year and have stopped depositing tax in the current financial year could find taxmen knocking their doors. The official explained that taxmen would verify if a company that had employees or gave out contracts till last fiscal, had ceased to do so in the current financial year.

While the Income-Tax department is not leaving any stone unturned to achieve the target, a slippage in the direct tax target would bring government's fiscal situation under further pressure. Changes in the indirect tax structure post budget such as, the recent 4% across the board cut in excise duty and additional expenditure in the current fiscal on various counts -- implementation of sixth pay commission and additional spending to boost growth, have already put are already putting pressure on government's finances.

India's fiscal deficit--the money spent more than the revenue raised and borrowed funds--in the first nine months of the current fiscal rose to Rs 2,18,262 crore, which is more than one-and-a-half-times originally budgeted for the whole year.

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