A government data suggests an abysmally low tax collection by the Centre in the first four months of the fiscal year which may not be a good news in an election year when the need for revenues is more.
Against the target of Rs 14.80 lakh crore for 2018-19, the actual tax receipts until July is only Rs 2.92 lakh crore, shows the latest data by the Controller General of Accounts.
This is only 19.8% of the full year Budget target and is lower than last year's (2017-18) collections that were at 21%.
The lower collection is despite the government claiming that there has been a marked improvement in filing of returns this year.
“There has been a marked improvement in the number of income tax returns filed during FY 2018 compared to the corresponding period in the preceding year. The total number of ITRs e-filed up to August 31 was 5.42 crore as against 3.17 crore up to August 31 last year, marking an increase of 70.86%. Almost 34.95 lakh returns were uploaded on Aug 31 itself, being the last date of the extended due date of filing of ITRs," the government claimed.
However, analysts said that the higher number of returns did not essentially mean higher tax deposits. More and more people may be filing returns to tell the government that they do not earn enough to pay taxes.
Secondly, a larger number of returns this year could be due to a hefty fine that the government has imposed on those who do not file within the due date (August 31).
The GST collections, however, have not kept pace with the Budget target.
The government had targeted more than Rs 1 lakh crore of revenues through GST but except for April when the GST revenues topped Rs 1 lakh crore, none other months have given anywhere close to Rs one lakh crore.
The Centre has been in talks with state government officials on how to shore up GST revenues.