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Slow tax growth reflects companies' GST troubles
August, 12th 2017

The exchequer got 19.1 per cent more from direct taxes in the first four months of the current financial year (FY18), but the amount paid by companies reflected their struggle with the goods and services tax (GST).

The total direct taxes after refunds grew 19.1 per cent at Rs 1.9 lakh crore between April and June this year. Last year, during this period, it had risen 24 per cent.

This is a minor deceleration, but when compared in terms of percentage of Budget Estimates (BE), the figures this time are rosier.

The collections constituted 19.5 per cent of the BE of direct taxes for FY18. In FY17, they had accounted for 18.8 per cent of the BE.

What is startling, however, is the slow tax collection from corporate entities. This year, this grew by 7.2 per cent in the April-July period, sharply lower than the 11.7 per cent in the same period last year.

Experts said the slowdown could be attributed to adjustments leading to destocking and the offering of discounts by companies as the government ushered in the new indirect taxation system on July 1.

Aditi Nayar, principal economist with Icra, said gross corporation tax collections recorded slower growth, reflecting factors such as subdued volume growth in various sectors as well as the discounts offered to reduce inventories ahead of the transition to the GST.

Available indicators — such as the sequential decline in growth in non-oil exports, core sector output and automobile production — suggest that industrial growth was subdued in June.

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