On April 8, the government had announced that it would release pending I-T refunds to help businesses and individuals tide over the potential cash flow issues due to lockdown.
The income tax department on Friday said that it has issued refunds worth Rs 62,361 crore during the April 8 to June 30 period. The department processed 20.44 lakh cases within the 56 week days in this period.
On April 8, the government had announced that it would release pending I-T refunds to help businesses and individuals tide over the potential cash flow issues due to lockdown. The department said it has issued refunds in 76 cases per minute during this time.
“Income-tax refunds amounting to Rs 23,453.57 crore have been issued in 19,07,853 cases to taxpayers and corporate tax refunds amounting to Rs 38,908.37 crore have been issued in 1,36,744 cases to taxpayers during this period,” the department said in a statement.
It further said that refunds of this magnitude have been issued completely electronically and have been directly deposited into the bank accounts of the taxpayers. Unlike what used to happen some years ago, in these refund cases, no taxpayer had to approach the department to request for the release of refund.
CBDT reiterated that taxpayers should provide immediate response to emails of the department so that refunds in their cases too could be processed and issued right away. “Such emails of the I-T department seek taxpayers to confirm their outstanding demand, their bank account number and reconciliation of defect/mismatch prior to issue of refund. In all such cases, quick responses from the taxpayers would enable the I-T department to process their refunds expeditiously,” it said.
While refunds are being expedited, the government is staring at a record shortfall in direct tax collection. Reflecting the economic contraction in the pandemic-hit first quarter of the current fiscal, gross direct tax collections so far for the June quarter stood at Rs 1.38 lakh crore, down by about 31% from the year-ago period. Corporate advance tax collections were down 79% on year in the period while advance payments of personal income tax were lower by 65%.
The total collections of advance taxes, a mechanism used by the large individual and corporate taxpayers, were just `11,714 crore till the June 15 deadline, less than a quarter of Rs 48,917 crore collected in the year-ago period.
In FY20, the direct tax collection had fallen 7.8% to Rs 10.37 lakh crore — a decline in collection for the first time in at least two decades. The budget estimate for direct tax collection in the current fiscal is Rs 13.2 lakh crore, which would require a growth rate of 27% from the actual collections in FY20, clearly an impossible task.