Mumbai has once again emerged as the top most contributor to the all India income tax collection. The city has contributed almost one-third amount to the total tax collection in the just concluded financial year (2006-07).
Mumbai's tax collection stood at about Rs 75,000 crore as against the all India figure of around Rs 2,29,000 crore. This brings Mumbai's contribution close to 33 per cent of the all India tax collection.
Income tax officials said that Mumbai surpassed its original target of Rs 69,000 crore for the financial year 2006-07. The target was, however, increased to Rs 79,000 crore in January this year with the economy boosting and collections going high.
"Though we could not achieve the revised target, but crossing the earlier target is a good indication," said a senior IT officer requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media. He added that the collection this year is almost 39 per cent more than the previous financial year's (2005-06) collection when the Mumbai circle got about Rs 54,000 crore.
Officers in Mumbai are now waiting for the collection target for the present financial year (2007-08). The target would be announced by the finance ministry next month, but officers in the city expect that it would be easily 25 to 30 per cent more than the last financial year's target.
With the target shooting up so much, officers are worried about the vacancies that are not filled up for the last about five years. Officials said that on all India level, 25 per cent seats are vacant on various positions. But the huge vacancy on assistant commissioner of income tax (ACIT) and deputy commissioner of income tax (DCIT) level is the biggest cause of worry for the department. "This level does the major work of processing and scrutiny of the returns filed by the assessors," said a senior officer.
On all India level over 38 per cent posts of ACITs and DCITs are vacant. As against the sanctioned strength of 2192, there are only 1350 ACITs and DCITs. In Mumbai 42 per cent posts of ACITs and DCITs are vacant. As against the sanctioned strength of 249, there are only 144 ACITs and DCITs in the city.
Officers said that this is affecting the scrutiny and processing of returns. Moreover, the Central Information Bureau (CIB) of the department has recently stated in a report that about Rs 10,00,000 crore wroth of information is pending to be processed for the last three to four years. This information is about people buying expensive goods, taking club memberships, making huge investments and spending heavy amounts on various functions. "We need to cross check all this with the returns filed by individuals and see if they have declared this income," an officer said adding that due to shortage of staff the backlog is created. "Not all this amount would be black money, but if cross checked with the returns, the department would be able to collect a huge amount in tax as some part of this would definitely be unaccounted," said another officer.