Direct taxes down by nearly Rs 1 lakh crore

Deccan Chronicle.  | Vikram Sharma

Business, Economy

Tax collections fall short of annual target by nearly Rs 4 lakh crore

Nirmala Sitharaman's budget projections for income tax collections have gone for a toss.

Hyderabad: With the coronavirus outbreak disrupting business in the last quarter, income tax collections for financial year 2019-20 as of March 31 totalled Rs 9.98 lakh crore (Rs 9,97,872.8 to be precise).

This is far from the target of Rs 13.8 lakh crore set by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for the financial year 2019-20.  

Compared to the Rs 10.94 lakh crore collected in financial year 2018-19, this is sharply down 8.8 per cent.

It is certainly a major disappointment for Union finance minister by Nirmala Sitharaman whose budget projections have gone awry.

The final figure is expected to slightly increase in a day or two as the Income Tax Department is still in the process of updating last-minute figures. 

One IT official Deccan Chronicle spoke to said income tax collections were badly hit because the department could not -- due to the coronavirus outbreak -- freely use coercive tactics to make people pay up.

''The coronavirus hit our operations badly. There were no Income tax raids and surveys which would have made people pay up. Unlike in previous years, we were not able to summon defaulters or go and visit them. In the absence of coercive methods, tax collections were badly hit,'' he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Instead, IT staff had no other option but to talk to targets on the telephone or communicate by email, which is not as effective.

''Moreover, many people were reluctant to pay taxes due to the prevailing uncertainty amid the lockdown,'' the officer said.

Sources said the chief commissioners of income tax of a few regions even wrote to the CBDT seeking an extension of the March 31 deadline.

Looking at Income tax figures available till March 31, corporate taxes stood at over Rs 5.41 lakh crore (Rs 5,41,885.9 to be exact) while personal income tax collections were of the order of Rs 4.43 lakh crore (Rs 4,43,603.8).

Both figures are well short of the target set by CBDT for 2019-20: Rs 7.60 lakh crore for corporate tax and Rs 6.07 lakh crore for personal income tax.

The impact of the economic slowdown made worse by the corona lockdown is clearly evident in the tax collections raked in by the IT Department’s Mumbai region, where corporate India is headquartered: collections up to March 31, 2020 stood at Rs 3.10 lakh crore, down by a whopping 11.7 per cent year on year. The other big tax revenue region, Delhi, also recorded a shrinkage of 9.7 per cent, netting no more than Rs 1.43 lakh crore as against Rs 1.59 lakh crore the previous year.

The Bengaluru IT region too recorded a decrease of 10 per cent at Rs 1.07 lakh crore compared to previous year's Rs 1.19 lakh crore. The Chennai IT region collected over Rs 70,156 crore as against last year's Rs 74,068 crore.

In the Hyderabad income tax region, which covers Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, net collections for 2018-19 and 2019-20 were static: Rs 56,874 crore and Rs 56,067 crore respectively.

Here are the collection figures for the other income tax regions:

Ahmedabad: 2019-20 tax collection: Rs 49,594.2 crore. Growth --0.3 per cent. Last year: Rs 49,729.1 crore. Corporate tax: Rs 25,070.4 crore. Income tax: Rs 24,523.9 crore.  

Chandigarh: 2019-20 tax collection: Rs 42,212.6 crore. Growth –8.5 per cent. Last year: Rs 44,715.5 crore. Corporate tax: Rs Rs 19,220.2 crore. Income tax: Rs 22,973.8 crore.

Kolkata: 2019-20 tax collection: Rs 39,514.3 crore. Growth –-8.5 per cent. Last year: Rs 43,179.3 crore. Corporate tax: Rs 24,194.8 crore. Income tax: Rs 15,315.5 crore

Lucknow: 2019-20 tax collection: Rs 11,817.3 crore. Growth –-5 per cent. Last year: Rs  12,439.0 crore. Corporate tax: Rs 4,370.3 crore. Income tax: Rs 7,445.6 crore

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