Rattled by subdued advance tax receipts, the finance ministry has signalled its intention to crack the whip on big-spending taxpayers.
The cash-strapped revenue department on Monday warned individual and corporate tax payers of strict action for allegedly understating “true income” and urged them to pay due taxes by December 15.
In an unusually stern warning, revenue secretary Sumit Bose said that the department has prepared a list of big-spending taxpayers and said that they were under watch.
Not disguising the ministry’s annoyance over the fact that only 14.6 lakh tax payers including individuals and companies have reported annual income above Rs 10 lakh in assessment year 2012-13, Bose said: “Any fair-minded person will agree that this is a gross under-statement.”
This low figure is despite the fact that about 4.6 lakh companies, 5 lakh non-corporate bodies such as partnerships and 68.6 lakh others including salaried individuals, Hindu Undivided Families and professionals had filed returns last fiscal. Assessees are supposed to pay annual tax liability by way of advance tax by specified dates. Individuals have to pay in three installments and companies in four. The third installment for corporates and the second for all others are due on December 15. Salaried employees usually do not pay advance tax as tax is deducted at source and they usually do not have other sources of income.
The redoubling of efforts by the revenue department comes at a time when the government is faced with serious slippages on the fiscal front, especially in the wake of the largely subdued response to its spectrum auction plan and divestment mop-up falling way behind target.
While on the indirect tax side, collections are projected to fall short of the budgeted target of Rs 5.05 lakh crore, the direct tax target of Rs 5.70 lakh crore, too, seems out of reach. The Vijay Kelkar committee on fiscal consolidation has said that tax collection, this year, are likely to fall short by Rs 60,000 crore.
The direct tax collection during April-October stood at Rs 3.02 lakh crore, showing an increase of 6.59 per cent as against the annual growth target of 15 per cent.