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Staff shortage may dent Tamil Nadu's tax kitty: Comptroller and Auditor General
May, 18th 2012

A shortage of staff in the commercial taxes department has slowed down clearing of value added tax (VAT) assessments in Tamil Nadu, which is likely to adversely affect the state's tax collection, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General has said.

VAT was introduced in Tamil Nadu, after much wrangling, from January 1, 2007. At the end of 2006-07, there were 99,548 assessments pending with the department, but the number has grown to 3,92,518 at the end of 2010-11. The report said the government attributed the slow disposal to vacancies in the department, especially that of tax assessors.

"There are around 1,300 vacancies in the department and steps have been taken to fill up these posts. We have asked the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) to fill them up. The process has been initiated and we expect it to be completed in six months," a senior official told TOI.

VAT contributes more than 50% of the state's total tax revenue. In 2010-11, the government collected Rs 30,491 crore VAT from 3,11,517 assessees (traders and manufacturing units), which accounted for about 58% of the total tax revenue of Rs 52,433.63 crore for the year. The government estimates it would net Rs 77,493 crore in taxes in 2012-13. To achieve that, the CAG says, the government must pull up its socks and ensure completion of the pending assessments expeditiously.

The average VAT collection per assessee, which stood at 9.19 lakh in 2010-11, has been growing steadily over the years, except in 2008-2009 when it fell due to the global recession.

The report pointed out that the cost incurred on collecting tax was high two years back but has come down ever since. In 2008-09, 0.91% of the tax revenue, higher than the national average of 0.83%, was spent on VAT collection. But in 2010-11, the cost came down to 0.77% of the tax revenue in the state against the national average of 0.96%. The report commended the steps taken by the government to reduce the expenditure on tax collection. tnn

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