Centre to miss direct tax mop-up

Shortfall seen around the range of 15 to 20,000 cr.

The Centre is unlikely to meet the budgeted direct tax collections in the current fiscal and the shortfall could be in the range of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore, a government official said.

“The indirect tax collection figures for December are good, but not sure of meeting direct tax target for the fiscal,” the official said. Net direct tax collections in the first nine months (April-December 2011) stood at Rs 3,23,955 crore, 61 per cent of the Budget estimate of Rs 5,32,651 crore for 2011-12.

The finance ministry had in October revised the budget estimate of direct tax collection upwards by Rs 53,000 crore to Rs 5,85,000 crore.

The revision was intended to bridge the shortfall that might occur due to reduction in customs duty on crude oil to offset the price rise. The Centre sacrificed revenues of close to Rs 4,000 crore  (both excise and customs) since July on account of changes in duty structure for petroleum products.

In spite of that, the total indirect tax receipts have registered 16.1 per cent increase in April-December this year to Rs 2,85,787 crore. The decline in direct tax collection will only add to Centre’s slipping fiscal deficit target as direct tax collections contribute more than half of the central government's revenue, analysts said.

The two biggest contributors to the country’s direct tax collections, Delhi and Mumbai have reported lower than expected revenue collections.

While Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee early this month asked the tax collection authorities in Mumbai and Delhi to pull up their socks to achieve collection target, the central revenue department is cracking down on tax evaders through a special drive that seeks to verify all high-value transactions from persons who are not assessed to income tax.

The lower growth in tax mop until now, according to experts, is due to high refunds and low advance tax collections in the previous quarters.

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