Alarmed at poor tax collections, the central board of direct taxes (CBDT) has pulled up field formations, wanting them to make an extra effort to pull up collections.
The move comes at a time when direct tax collections are not showing healthy growth and are likely to miss the budgeted target of Rs 13.35 lakh crore.
Sources told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity, the CBDT in an informal directive has asked field formations to settle pending tax demands on a war-footing.
“The board has also asked field formations to immediately take action on pending arrears, identify top 100 cases, which need to be followed up by the field officers on a daily basis. The centre has also demanded fields to give weekly status reports on a zone-wise basis to help the government know the exact status,” sources added.
CBDT is also understood to have begun fresh talks with banks and various public sector undertakings to prepone their tax deducted at source (TDS) payments, which are due to the central government, to help shore up tax collections.
Apart from this, CBDT is also in talks with fields for start issuing orders to advance taxpayers “under section 210 of IT Act asking them to explain lesser outgo on account of advance tax in comparison to last year,” sources added.
With the Union Budget 2020 fast approaching, latest government data showed direct tax collections between April and January 15 of this financial year have shown a negative growth of -6.1 percent, people familiar with the matter told CNBC-TV18.
These figures have gained an extra importance because the Budget is on the anvil and direct tax collections are a barometer of the income of the people and the corporate sector. Healthy headroom on account of tax revenues helps the government maintain fiscal discipline, they said.
The July 5 Budget 2019-20 had mentioned a direct tax collections target of Rs 13.35 lakh crore. The direct collections stood at Rs 7.26 lakh crore against Rs 7.73 lakh crore recorded during the same period last year, one of the persons said, asking not to be named.
CBDT Chairman PC Mody has also asked field formations to start collecting old demands which are not stuck under appeals, sources said.
There have been more than Rs12 lakh crore pending old demands at various stages, including litigation.
“Let’s see what are the revised estimates of direct taxes that the government is going present when it unveils the Budget, laying down the accounts of the government on February 1,” they said.
The Income Tax Department is understood to have conducted tax raids on agro-chemical firm UPL’s offices and other premises, sources told CNBC-TV18.
Sources on the condition of anonymity said searches are on at over 15 premises of UPL at various locations in Mumbai and Gujarat.
I-T sources added: “UPL CEO Jai Shroff is under I-T scanner.” However, they did not confirm the charges under which the raids were being conducted.
First Published: IST