Increasing awareness on annual information returns
The Centre's gross direct tax collections continue to remain buoyant and have registered a 33.53-per-cent increase in April-September 15 this year to Rs 87,831 crore, as compared to gross collection level of Rs 65,725 crore recorded in the same period last year.
Net direct tax collections (provisional) for the period stood at Rs 70,749 crore, reflecting a 37.70-per-cent increase over the net collection level of Rs 51,379 crore recorded in April-September 15, 2005. The income-tax department has given refunds to the tune of Rs 17,082 during April-September 15 (Rs 14,346 crore).
However, the Centre's excise duty collection growth has somewhat slipped from the trend witnessed earlier this year. Excise duty collections during April-August 2006 stood at Rs 41,836 crore, which represented a 6.2 per cent growth over Rs 39,380 crore collected in same period last year. In April-July 2006, excise duty collections had grown by 8.8 per cent to Rs 33,004 crore. Excise duty collections in August 2006 grew by mere 0.4 per cent to Rs 9,032 crore (Rs 8,993 crore).
The direct tax collection growth so far is much higher than the budgeted growth for the financial year 2006-07. Advance tax collections (provisional) up to September 15, 2006, increased by 29.88 per cent to Rs 37,135 crore (Rs 28,592 crore). While advance tax paid by corporates have gone up by 30.33 per cent to Rs 30,898 crore, the increase in the case of personal income tax was 27.70 per cent at Rs 6,237 crore (Rs 4,884 crore).
Buoyancy in economy
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) spokesperson attributed the good growth in direct tax collection to the buoyancy in economy and also to the advertising campaigns launched on the annual information returns (AIR).
"More than the buoyancy, it is the increasing awareness on AIR among taxpayers that has led to the robust growth in collection," the CBDT spokesperson, Mr A.K. Sinha, said here on Wednesday.
He said that income-tax assessees are now aware that the tax department is getting information on their high-value transactions through the AIR returns filed by specified third parties such as banks, property registrars and credit card companies.
For the financial year 2005-06, the income-tax department has received information on 18.84 lakh transactions involving an amount of Rs 23.26 lakh crore through the AIRs. The tax department has so far received 1,849 AIRs, which is much lower than the 3,188 returns received for the financial year 2004-05.
Mr Sinha attributed the decline in the number of returns to better understanding of the provisions by those who are required to file such returns.
"Last year, branches of banks started sending us information independently. The tax department required every bank to furnish one consolidated AIR return. This year the process has been more streamlined. This could be a reason for the decline," Mr Sinha said.
For the financial year 2004-05, the tax department received information on 17.99 lakh transactions involving Rs 13.40 lakh crore through AIRs.
Meanwhile, service tax collections up to July 2006 stood at Rs 9,835 crore, reflecting a 66-per-cent growth over Rs 5,924 crore collected in the same period last year.