Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday expressed concern about the "sizable" evasion of excise duties and asked corporates to pay their tax liabilities under this head on the lines of service and corporate income taxes.
"I am inclined to believe that there is sizable evasion in excise duty. I would urge corporates to pay excise duty just as they are paying corporate income and service taxes. Evading duties do not pay in the long run. One black mark will haunt you throughout the year," Chidambaram said after launching electronic payment system for excise duty and service tax.
He expressed wonder as to why excise duty is not keeping pace with growth in the manufacturing sector. "When the economy is growing at 8.5-9 per cent and manufacturing by double digit, excise collections should also grow at the same rate," he said.
The Finance Ministry revised down its target of excise duty collections to Rs 1,17,266 crore for this fiscal against the earlier estimate of Rs 1,19,000 crore.
While there has been steep rise in corporate income tax and service tax collections, there has not been commensurate increase in excise duty collections, Chidambaram said.
Greater focus would be laid on collecting excise duty during 2007-08, the Finance Minister said.
In December, Excise Department had announced to withdraw or restrict certain facilities, like registration of dealers, from those not paying excise duties to the Government.
Pointing to these measures and electronic payment system launched on Wednesday, the Finance Minister said both hard and soft steps have been put in place to increase the excise kitty.