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Finance minister asks tax officials to collect more
July, 22nd 2014

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday asked the income tax department to beat the Budget Estimate of Rs 7,36,221 crore for direct tax collections and focus on unearthing black money not just abroad but also within the country. He, however, cautioned that while performing their duty, tax officers should maintain highest standards of ethics as credibility of the department is its greatest asset.

According to a media statement issued by the finance ministry, Jaitley said though the government was making full efforts to bring back the black money stashed abroad, officers should also make serious efforts to unearth black money within the country which is also quite large.

"The finance minister said officers are duty-bound to work in a non-adversarial, non-intrusive, transparent and fair manner, yet they have to deal firmly with those trying to evade taxes due from them to the department," the statement said.

Addressing the annual conference of principal chief commissioners, principal director-generals, chief commissioners and director generals of income tax, Jaitley said the job of the officers of the department was very difficult in the sense that on the one hand, they have to achieve the tax collection targets, and on the other, to play the role of tax facilitator for the assessee.

Earlier, addressing the officers, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said senior officers have to find innovative means to achieve their revenue targets. He also said the officers of the department have to work as a facilitator and achieve targets by using fair and transparent means.

"The focus and efforts of the officers of the department should be to reduce tax arrears, which are to the tune of Rs 4 lakh crore and higher tax recovery," Das said. He also asked the officers to reduce tax litigation and avoid frivolous and avoidable litigation in this regard.

The Budget target for direct taxes was scaled down in the Revised Estimates, as collections took a hit amid a slowing economy. The I-T department had surpassed the RE of Rs 6,36,318 crore, while actual collection was Rs 6,38,495 crore.

Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman R K Tewari said the officers of the department would make their utmost efforts to achieve the tax collection targets fixed for them. He also said direct tax collections in the past 10 years have grown over 600 per cent.

The direct tax to GDP ratio was 5.62 per cent during 2013-14, compared with 5.52 per cent during 2012-13.

The CBDT chairman also enumerated various steps taken to augment revenue collections, including monitoring of advance tax payments by top tax papers, TDS payments by top deductors, monitoring tax payments by entities covered under MAT/AMT provisions, appropriate action to tackle default/deferment of payments of TDS/self-assessment tax, follow-up of non-filers monitoring system cases, utilising information available through third party sources, capturing new information sources such as under reporting of immoveable property transaction amount, buyback of shares through open offers, exchange of information with other countries.

This two-day conference was also attended G S Sandhu, secretary, financial services; Ravi Mathur, secretary, disinvestment; chairman and members of CBDT, chairperson and members of the Central Board of Excise and Customs and senior officers of the revenue department among others.

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