Buoyed by higher tax deducted at source (TDS) receipts, the Centres net direct tax collections are likely to touch Rs 3,40,000 crore in 2008-09, marginally lower than the revised target of Rs 3,44,600 crore.
At this level, net direct tax receipts would post 10 per cent growth compared to the previous fiscals actual collections.
Based on poor advance tax payments in the fourth quarter ended March 2009, revenue officials were fearing a higher slippage in revenue collections. After posting 25 per cent growth in the first half ended September 2008, direct tax collections slowed significantly, as the global economic crisis started to impact Indian companies.
Since December last year, we started focusing on TDS and regular assessment to increase tax collections, and it has paid off, said a senior revenue department official.
According to the latest data, TDS collections increased by 25 per cent to Rs 1,30,456 crore in fiscal 2009, compared to Rs 1,04,695 crore in the previous fiscal. However, advance tax collections under two major heads corporation tax and income tax dipped by 7 per cent to around Rs 1,68,000 crore.
We have also collected more than Rs 25,000 crore through recovery of arrears and regular assessment, said the same official. After taxpayers file their returns, the revenue department makes an assessment to see whether the tax paid is correct or not. If found less than the actual due, the department raises a tax demand.
The government is able to collect near the target as the impact of the ongoing economic slowdown in India was felt only in the fourth quarter. Also, the compliance level has gone up because of low tax rates in the last few years, said Vikas Vasal, executive director with KPMG, an audit and consulting firm.
When asked whether higher TDS collections could lead to a large refund demand in the current financial year, Vasal said, It is unlikely, as the TDS rate in all cases, except for salaries, is lower than the actual tax rate. Refund demand could come from taxes collected under regular assessment.
Tax refunds during the last fiscal increased marginally by 1.4 per cent to around Rs 41,000 crore.