Staff shortage may hit tax collection

Shortage of staff in the commercial taxes department could result in a shortfall in the set budgetary target by Rs 4,400 crore for the financial year 2014-15.

The commercial taxes department has set a target of Rs 44,000 crore for 2014-15, but the lack of sufficient human resource is estimated to cause a revenue shortfall.

According to sources, the shortage of manpower has not only affected enforcement and revenue collection, but is also affecting the functioning of the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal (KAT) which decides on tax appeal cases.

According to an official, four senior commercial taxes officers should be members of the KAT but only two officers have been deputed due to shortage of staff. Tax appeal cases to the tune of Rs 4,200 crore is pending before the tribunal and the shortage is affecting the disposal of cases, the official said.

The vacancy position is thus: 47 deputy commissioners of commercial taxes, eight joint commissioners of commercial taxes, four additional commissioners of commercial taxes, 20 assistant commissioners of commercial taxes and 20 commercial taxes officers (CTOs).

The Karnataka High Court had passed an order to give condition bound promotions to CTOs but the direction has not been implemented even after 18 months, the sources said.

Besides, there are a total of 1,400 vacancies in group C and D categories.

When contacted, Finance Department Principal Secretary I N S Prasad admitted that there was shortage of manpower  in the commercial taxes department but expressed confidence that the set revenue target would be met.

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