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No.402/92/2006-MC (24 of 2008) Government of India / Ministry of Finance Department of Revenue Central Board of Direct Taxes
June, 17th 2008


PRESS RELEASE

Observations of the Finance Minister of India during the 24th Annual Conference of Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Income Tax held in New Delhi on 9th June 2008

The Finance Minister of India, Mr. P. Chidambaram, in his inaugural address delivered at the 24th Annual Conference of Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Income Tax in New Delhi on the 9th June 2008, congratulated the Income Tax department for direct tax collection of Rs.3.14 trillion and said that the phenomenal growth in tax collection was one of the significant achievements of the present Union Government.

Exhorting top tax officials to further enhance tax collection efforts, the Finance Minister observed that as the average growth in direct tax collection had varied in the past four years between 25 percent and 39 percent it was within reach to achieve tax growth of at least 25 percent during the current fiscal over and above the net collection last fiscal.

The Finance Minister pointed out that the level of voluntary tax compliance had gone up in the country as indicated by substantial growth in collections from tax deducted at source at 51 percent, advance tax at 33.6 percent and self-assessment tax at 62 percent during fiscal 2007-08 over the previous fiscal, while the post-assessment tax collection had declined by about 5 percent as it should be in a maturing tax system. He, however, observed that the quality of tax scrutiny could further improve if tax authorities repose more trust on taxpayers and not view every case generated by the computer aided scrutiny selection with suspicion.

The Finance Minister observed that trend of voluntary tax compliance was also indicated in the large proportion of electronic tax returns (e returns) filed voluntarily out of total e returns filed, which had increased significantly from about 323 thousand during 2006-07 to over 2.19 million during 2007-08. The use of digital signatures in e returns had also significantly increased, while e payment of taxes was increasing and would further increase as it had been made mandatory for certain categories of taxpayers to pay taxes through the electronic mode in the current fiscal. The future, he observed, was doing business of tax collection through the electronic mode.

In his intervention during presentations on various issues, the Finance Minister observed that certain cases had been brought to his notice where after search or survey on some taxpayers, it was found that although they had taxable income either they had never filed their tax returns or they had stopped filing tax returns during the last 3 years. He opined that cases of such recalcitrant taxpayers were fit to initiate prosecution proceedings under the direct tax laws.

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