Railways, defence, telecom and some other government departments could face special audits by income-tax department. Lower tax payment by the departments has led the department to examine a proposal to that effect.
All government departments have to deduct tax at source whenever they make a payment to a contractor. The TDS collection from the departments has been low, according to income-tax sources. This is despite the fact that these departments are some of the largest using the contracts system, the source said. Of the TDS collection of Rs 70,000 crore, only Rs 1,500 crore came from government departments.
The income-tax department plans to place greater emphasis on TDS as the payments are collected by the government even before the income is received by the beneficiaries. Therefore, TDS administration is being tightened and the income-tax department plans to create a separate directorate for day-to-day monitoring of TDS collections.
Officers would be posted in 12 commissionerates to keep a tab on TDS collections from government departments in key cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The directorate will conduct training programmes for government departments to highlight the importance of deducting tax at source.
Recently, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) asked the income-tax department to tighten its TDS administration. The finance ministry may take necessary steps to bring in all tax deductors into the tax net and enforce recovery of tax deducted at source and tax collected at source as required under the Act, the CAG said in its report for 2005-06.
Tightening of the TDS administration is important as it forms a large chunk of the governments total tax collections. In 2005-06, TDS collections accounted for 33% of total direct tax revenue.