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Tax revenues surpass expectations
April, 07th 2010

The much-dreaded economic slowdown appears to be nearing its end if the whopping taxes mobilised by the Congress-led Democratic Front government during financial year 2009-10 are a yardstick.
Our main taxes come from stamp duty, motor vehicle tax, value-added tax and the excise duty on liquor.

Our performance was better than the previous years, considering we not only achieved the target, but exceeded it. This, despite the fact that there was absolutely no hike in taxes in any sector, a senior finance department official told TOI on Tuesday.

The sales tax department, the official said, mobilised Rs 36,045 crore against the target of Rs 31,000 crore in 09-10, while it mopped up Rs 34,306 crore against the target of Rs 33,609 crore in 08-09. There was no change in the sales tax, VAT structure. The department was able to exceed the target owing to the stringent regulatory mechanism. In fact, the department was able to realise the VAT which was stuck in a large number of litigation, he said.

Transport department, led by senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, was instrumental in mobilising the highest-ever tax on motor vehicles. In 09-10, it mobilised Rs 2,600 crore, while in 08-09, it had recovered Rs 2,212 crore. This, even as the number of newly registered vehicles were more or less similar over the two years.

Our emphasis was on effective implementation of the Motor Vehicle Act and stopping leakage at all levels. We especially found that there was rampant corruption on border checkposts. We successfully plugged that and as a result, our performance improved, he said.

The official further said that Vikhe Patil was instrumental in enacting more than a dozen amendments to the rules under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1989, particularly on transfer of permits, phone-a-taxi scheme, and a one-time tax on taxi and autorickshaws. Thus, without changing the existing taxation pattern, the department was able to mobilise more resources.

The excise department had a similar story to tell. Without changing the excise duty on either Indian made foreign liquor or country made liquor, it was able to exceed its target of Rs 4,800 crore in 09-10. As in the sales tax department, excise too concentrated on stringent implementation of rules and plugging loopholes in the administration. Last year, our target was Rs 4,300 crore. Against that, in the current year, we mobilised Rs 4,900 crore, the official said.

Even the revenue department saw massive mobilisation of stamp duty on real estate transactions. In view of the overall recession in the real estate sector, we were doubtful of achieving the higher target set by the government. Last year, we had mobilised Rs 8,300 crore, while in 2009-10, we garnered well over Rs 9,200 crore, he said.

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