Tax collection in Mumbai and the country is set to take a hit at the end of the financial year with income tax (I-T) officials going on an indefinite protest. While the officers have already stopped assessing returns from Friday, they will soon stop taking part in search and survey operations.
The protesting I-T officials are demanding the promotion of officers that is pending for the last two years. There are over 500 promotions pending at the national level, out of which around 100 are in Mumbai.
Mumbai still needs to collect around Rs. 60,000 crore in direct taxes in less than two months, as the financial year 2012-2013 will end on March 31. Mumbai has collected around Rs1.2 lakh crore so far as against the target of Rs. 1.8 lakh crore. The city contributes 35% to the country’s kitty.
At the national level, the department still needs to collect about Rs1.8 lakh crore to meet the target. The department has so far collected Rs3.9 lakh crore as against the target of Rs. 5.7 lakh crore.
“We have decided on various sets of protests to push our demand for promotions,” said Ravi Shankar, general secretary, Mumbai unit of Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association.
As part of the protest, officials, who are to be promoted from income tax officers (ITO) to joint commissioners of income tax (JCIT) level, have already stopped assessment work from Friday. The number of protesting officials on all India level is around 8,500, while around 1,000 are protesting in Mumbai.
The officers have also stopped issuing tax-demand notices thereby affecting the tax collection. From Monday, they would stop pursuing work related to recovery of arrear tax demand. Further there would be no submission of tax collection figures to higher authorities and officials would also wear black badges.
The major protest would begin from February 20 when officials would stop taking part in search and survey operations. Officials from ITO to JCIT level, who do the major paper and field work, are part of the protest.
"Searches and surveys help in garnering considerable amount of tax and during the financial-year end such operations go up," said a senior I-T official.
The officials have also planned a lunch-hour demonstration on February 15.