In a stern message to indirect tax evaders, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today said the Revenue Department will target 12 lakh service tax assesses who have stopped filing returns. "We are targeting 12 lakh non-filers and stop-filers of service tax," he told reporters after inaugurating the 28th conference of chief commissioners and director generals of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
The Minister said he had impressed upon the tax officials "that revenue mobilisation is the most important task of the department and they should achieve this (tax collection) target". Service tax accounts for one-third of the total indirect tax collection in the country and the government expects to raise Rs 1.8 lakh crore through the levy this fiscal. Chidambaram also exuded confidence that with the economy expected to grow by about 6 per cent, the Revenue Department will be able to achieve the target of 19 per cent increase in indirect tax collection in the current fiscal over the realisation in 2012-13.
"In 2012-13, we achieved 21 per cent increase over the previous year's collection. With economy expected to grow certainly higher than 5 per cent...I think with growth close to six per cent, we should be able to collect 19 per cent more than last year," the Minister added. The Finance Ministry has fixed the target of indirect tax collection, comprising customs, excise and service tax, at Rs 5.65 lakh crore for 2013-14. The Ministry had collected Rs 4.73 lakh crore as indirect taxes during 2012-13, according to the latest data put on Department of Revenue's website.