Tax evaders can expect frequent crackdowns by the income tax (I-T) department. The reason — an increase in collection target has put authorities under tremendous pressure.
The direct tax collection target for Mumbai has been increased from Rs1.85 lakh crore to Rs2.04 lakh crore. For the country it has been increased from Rs5.32 lakh crore to Rs5.85 lakh crore.
The looming financial turbulence in the US and Europe has resulted in crashing of the stock market at home, which has caused loss to many.
According to I-T authorities, this would result in fall in tax payment as many corporates and investors would show losses.
“Target hike at such a time has created panic in the department,” said a senior I-T official. “We now have to take strict measures to recover taxes.”
Besides increasing search and survey operations, officials have also been instructed to make attempts to recover taxes locked in dispute and to speed up cases with various appellate authorities.
However, the authorities are worried as the net collection till July-end has shown a negative growth of 25% as compared to last year.
Although the gross collection was Rs 42,000 crore till July-end — 14% growth compared to last year — Rs19,000 crore have been issued as refunds, the official said, adding that refunds issued in this financial year was 175% more than the amount given last year.
To achieve the revised target, Mumbai authorities have increased the target that they had planned to collect from corporates. As against the earlier Rs1.08 lakh crore, the authorities now intend to collect Rs1.4 lakh crore.
“This would increase the number of searches on big companies who would try to hide their actual income,” the official said.
He added that the department would keep a watch on the second installment of advance tax that is due by September 15.
Besides corporate tax, the authorities have also increased the personal income-tax collection target from Rs37,000 crore to Rs 56,000 crore. The Securities Transaction Tax target that comes by way of dealing in stocks has been increased from Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 8,200 crore.
In this financial year, the Mumbai circle of I-T is expected to contribute 34.8% to the country’s target. After Mumbai, Delhi contributes the most, which is 15.2%.