The sharp economic downturn notwithstanding, Kerala has registered a record tax collection by 2008-09-end with a total estimated mop-up of Rs.14,789 crore as on March 31.
According to tentative estimates of the Finance Department, the total revenue earned by way of VAT and non-VAT levy as on March 31 was Rs.11,565 crore. This is Rs.1,880 crore (19.4 per cent) more than the collection last year.
The 19.4 per cent increase in tax collection has been estimated with reference to the departments figures pertaining to 2007-08 which stood at Rs.9,685 crore. If last years collection figure is juxtaposed with the tax earnings figure of Rs.9,372 crore with the Accountant-General, which finds mention in the budget documents, the rate of increase in the overall collections would be 23.4 per cent over 2007-08.
The last one year had seen stringent measures on the part of the Finance Department to plug loopholes, widen the tax net with attractive incentives for the tax payer and intensified intelligence initiatives to unearth evasion. Together with computerisation of all offices of the Taxes Department, these initiatives appear to have helped the government to take its tax effort to newer levels.
The Excise Department also chipped in well with a total excise duty collection of Rs.1,359 crore. This is 15 per cent higher than the total excise duty collection during 2007-08.
The State Registration Department, though hit by a near-standstill in the total number of registrations, could raise Rs.1,865 crore, Rs.113 crore less than the revenue from registrations during 2007-08.
There was good news on the lotteries front with the profit from lottery sales going up to Rs.104 crore. The profit from lottery sale during 2007-08 was Rs.49 crore. There was a 45 per cent increase in turnover during the year.
The State government had crossed the half-way mark in overall revenue collection in the first six months of 2008-09. As on September 30, the government had collected close to Rs.8,000 crore.
The bad news from the global economic front was yet to trickle in at the time and the Finance Department was, at the time, hoping to put in a strong showing by the end of the financial year, but the slowdown has proved to be a dampener.