It has been a less than solid start to the new revenue year for taxmen.
Overall indirect tax collections in the first month of this fiscal year (2012-13) grew by just over 10 per cent, well below the asking rate of over 27 per cent for achieving the budgeted target of nearly Rs 5 lakh crore through customs duty, excise duty and service tax.
The low growth comes even after increasing the general excise duty rate and service tax rate by 2 per cent.
The strike by jewellers in April is estimated to have cost the Government almost Rs 400 crore by way of import duty on gold.
The jewellers' strike, along with the duty cut on petroleum products last year and higher duty drawback payments, turned customs duty collections negative in the month of April, top tax officials said.
The Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC) Chairman, Mr S K Goel, while addressing a press conference, said, We cannot predict for the entire year on the basis of one month's trend. We will be able to do so after June, when we have collection figures for the first quarter. However, we are hopeful of meeting the target.
Talking specifically about customs duty collections for various specific products, Mr. Goel said that though it was difficult to estimate how much more imports would have taken place had there not been any strike, we estimate there is loss of Rs 300-400 crore on account of lesser imports.
However, in actual terms, the indirect tax department got nearly Rs 100 crore less import duty on gold than April last year. Similarly, duty cut on crude oil and petroleum products last June brought down import duty collection on petroleum by over Rs 2,280 crore, the CBEC Chairman informed.
Another key factor was higher duty drawback payments in April. It grew by 271 per cent. But the board feels this trend is unlikely to continue in coming months and it will have better impact on overall duty collection.
But for the duty cuts on petroleum, the collections would have grown 22 per cent, Mr Goel added.