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Panchayats likely to turn new TDS hubs
September, 17th 2007
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has discovered new hubs to bolster the tax kitty — this time at the grassroots. The CBDT has spotted Panchayats in states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh as the potential tax payers under the TDS (tax deducted at source) category, sources in the finance ministry said.

With more and more big ticket government programmes such as National Rural Health Mission and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (education for all) being implemented at the ground level, the total transactions at Panchayats have increased manifold.

“Some Panchayats are contributing up to Rs 15 lac each through TDS. In most cases, they don’t know that they need to deduct TDS. So, we have also increased the total number of surveys in Panchayats to make them aware that they need to deduct TDS,” a CBDT official said.

In fact, the tax department made about 7500 surveys last year, many of which were targeted towards Panchayats and mandi (market) associations.

Significantly, the CBDT collected Rs 69,600 cr as TDS during FY’07, and it’s expected that the total TDS collection in the country could exceed Rs 100,000 cr this fiscal. Till July 25, 2007, the department collected Rs 31,500 cr as TDS.

"The TDS collection from Panchayats may not be very high initially, but it will increase substantially in the years to come. The total transactions by Panchayats are bound to increase as the implementation of many of our major schemes happen through Panchayats. What’s needed is to make them aware of the procedures,” a CBDT official said.

National tax director of Ernst & Young Gaurav Taneja said that a check-list of rules related to fiscal matters should be handed over to the Panchayats at the time of launching any new programme.

"The check-list should have all dos and don’ts. It should not only have the need to deduct TDS, but how its should be deducted,” he said.
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