Buoyed by a 47.6 per cent growth in direct tax collections, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the government was on course to achieve its target of Rs 3,17,773 crore for 2004-05. He forecast a further improvement in tax collections during September.
Chidambaram said that the government was launching an advertisement campaign from Friday asking service providers to register with the tax authorities before October 31, declare their liabilities and pay taxes without being subjected to any questioning.
"This is the last opportunity for registration and payment of service tax without inviting penal action. The law gives the tax officials powers to waive penalties," the minister said.
He said special camps would be organised to collect service tax and six new service tax commissionerates have been created.
These tax commissionerates would exclusively look after service tax matters, which were earlier taken care of by central excise commissionerates.
"Indirect tax collections were satisfactory. But in August it was a little skewed because of the transports'' strike for 7-8 days.
But the real heartening story is in direct taxes," Chidambaram said.
The declaration regarding valuation of services would be accepted by the department, he said, adding the government would encourage more people to register voluntarily. In terms of growth, service tax collections topped of the list registering a growth of 76.5 per cent to Rs 4,095 crore.
The government has budgeted for a 79.4 per cent increase to Rs 14,150 crore during the current fiscal.
Direct tax collection rose nearly 48 per cent to Rs 38,364 crore till 17 September as against Rs 25,982 crore between April and 17 August 2003-04.
Income tax collection was up 69 per cent to Rs 21,158 crore during April-September 17 this year, while corporate tax collections increased 33 per cent to Rs 17,206 crore during the period.
Till September 15, direct tax collection were up 50.7 per cent to Rs 27,240 crore this fiscal. Overall tax collection increased 17 per cent till August.