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India Inc takes FM cue, ups advance tax outgo
June, 17th 2008

The advance tax figures of some leading banks and a few corporates for the April-June quarter of this fiscal provide some room for comfort, but the situation going forward would depend on credit offtake, choppy markets and impact of higher interest rates and oil prices.

Many companies have recorded a higher advance tax outgo compared to the corresponding period last year. The finance minister expects direct tax collection for the current year to cross Rs 4 lakh crore.

State Bank of India, the countrys largest public sector bank, recorded a 32% increase in advance tax payment to Rs 663 crore for the April-June period this fiscal as against Rs 503 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. SBI has been among the top five tax payers in the country for at least five years. The bank had paid Rs 3,709 crore in tax during 2007-08.

ICICI Banks tax outgo during the April-June period grew 38% over the year-ago period. For the April-June period of the current fiscal, it paid Rs 340 crore against Rs 250 crore for the corresponding period last fiscal. ICICI Bank paid Rs 1,108.6 crore for the whole of last fiscal.

Till now, banks have been in a position to pass on higher rates to borrowers on the back of a buoyant loan demand. IDBIs April-June payment rose 43% to Rs 10 crore over Rs 7 crore last year. IDBI had paid a total of Rs 107 crore as tax during the last fiscal.

Reliance Industries (RIL), paid Rs 340 crore during the April-June period, marking an over 15% increase over Rs 295 crore tax paid during the same period last fiscal. The total tax paid by RIL last fiscal was Rs 3,552 crore. RIL, which used to be among the bottom of tax payers list a few years ago, has been among the largest tax payers for the last couple of years. This is largely due to the fact that the tax holiday it enjoyed on its infrastructure projects has ended.

Pune-based auto major Bajaj Auto paid Rs 50 crore, which is Rs 10 crore less than the amount paid last fiscal for the April-June period, thanks to higher interest rates impacting two-wheeler demand. Last fiscal, Bajaj Auto paid Rs 368 crore.

HDFC paid Rs 140 crore during the April-June period, marking an over 40% increase over the corresponding figure of Rs 95 crore last year. Tata Motors paid Rs 30 crore during the April-June period. The auto major had paid Rs 851 crore for the last fiscal. Ambuja Cement paid an advance tax of Rs 100 crore for April-June period. Its total tax outgo last year was over Rs 740 crore.

Advance taxes are paid in four instalments in June, September, December and March. Usually, the first instalment is 15% of the total tax estimated to be paid for the whole fiscal.

The finance minister has projected a direct tax collection of Rs 3,65,000 crore for the current fiscal. However, having gauged the continued buoyancy of the economy, he is reportedly thinking of raising the direct tax collection target to over Rs 4 lakh crore this fiscal.

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