Finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday directed tax officials to go after 12 lakh businesses that have not filed service tax returns and take steps to meet the Rs 5.65-lakh-crore indirect tax collection target for the fiscal. The minister also asked field officers of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to act like service providers to the top 100 tax-payers, treating them as the department's clients.
Talking to reporters here after a two-hour meeting with the chief commissioners and director-generals of CBEC, the minister said he has also institutionalised a system to listen to sector-specific grievances of tax payers. Finance minister's advisor Parthasarathi Shome will chair meetings with representatives of two industries every Wednesday.
The minister said that Shome would be assisted by officials of both Tax Research Unit and the Tax Planning and Legislation unit in the discussions with industry executives on both direct as well as indirect taxes.
The minister said that there was a consensus among the officials that the revenue collection target for 2012-13 would be achieved. "Nothing less is acceptable," the minister said. His optimism stems from the fact that excise, customs and service tax collections had grown 21% in 2012-13 to Rs 4.73 lakh crore from year-ago when the economy expanded by just 5%, its slowest in a decade. "This year, the economy is expected to grow above 6%. We should be able to collect 19% more than last year.”