Tax revenue arrears rise to ₹1.55 lakh crore, amnesty scheme announced
Mumbai: As the debt burden on the state exchequer is expected to grow to ₹ 6,49,699 crore by the end of the current fiscal year, and the revenue deficit is expected to be ₹ 16,122 crore, the tax revenue arrears of Maharashtra have increased substantially to over ₹ 1
Mumbai: As the debt burden on the state exchequer is expected to grow to ₹ 6,49,699 crore by the end of the current fiscal year, and the revenue deficit is expected to be ₹ 16,122 crore, the tax revenue arrears of Maharashtra have increased substantially to over ₹ 1.55 lakh crore till 2021-22, the budget documents released by the state government on Thursday showed.
Of the total outstanding amount, ₹ 67,831 crore is the accumulated tax revenue that the government has failed to recover in more than a decade while ₹ 87,241 crore is disputed tax money for which litigation is pending before various courts. Significantly, a huge amount of ₹ 51,146 crore has been added to the total irrecoverable tax amount in just the last three years.
The budget book has bifurcated the pending arrears into two groups — amount under dispute along with the number of years and amount not under dispute but not recovered. Both the groups are further bifurcated into sub-groups of taxes to be collected.
The state budget, presented by finance minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, disclosed that most of the outstanding amount is from sales tax and value-added taxes (VAT) on motor spirits and lubricants, which account for ₹ 1,09,313 crore or 70.49% of the total arrears. This includes both the disputed amount of ₹ 62,701 crore and the yet-to-be-recovered amount of ₹ 46,612 crore.
The second highest amount – ₹ 35,309 crore or 22.76% of the total outstanding bills – is pending from central sales. It also comprises both the disputed amount worth ₹ 18,875 crore and the bills that are yet to be paid amounting to ₹ 16,434 crore. Besides this, outstanding tax revenue from minor minerals is ₹ 3,040 crore, stamps and registration fees is ₹ 2,495 crore, land revenue is ₹ 1,120 crore, taxes on vehicles ₹ 855 crore and pending entertainment tax is ₹ 274 crore.
“All the taxes can be challenged,” clarified Manoj Saunik, additional chief secretary, finance department. “In our case, the lion’s share of the total pendency comes from the era prior to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). People have challenged the Value Added Tax (VAT). Time and again, we try to encourage people to clear their dues through amnesty schemes. This year too we have launched an amnesty scheme for settlement of arrears.”
In Budget 2023-24, the state finance minister announced an amnesty scheme on taxes, interest and penalty fees prior to the implementation of GST. This year the amnesty scheme will come into force from May 1, 2023 and will remain in place till October 31, 2023.
“I propose a full waiver of arrears if the arrears for any year are ₹ 2 lakh or less,” Fadnavis announced in his budget speech. “This will benefit small traders in nearly one lakh cases. Dealers having arrears up to ₹ 50 lakh or less will pay only 20 per cent of the arrears and the remaining 80 per cent will be waived. As a result small and medium dealers will benefit in around 80,000 cases.”