With nearly 45 days left in this fiscal to meet the revised estimate of Rs 10.05 lakh crore for direct taxes, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra will hold a meeting via videoconferencing with tax officers on Thursday. CBDT Chairman is expected to discuss ways for revenue mobilisation, including the pending tax amounts in appeals and litigation, two officials said.
The meeting comes on the heels of upward revision in direct tax estimates by Rs 25,000 crore for this financial year. In Budget for 2018-19, the government revised upwards the estimate for direct tax collections by Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 10.05 lakh crore for 2017-18 from the earlier Budget estimate of Rs 9.8 lakh crore.
“The meeting is being held to discuss revenue mobilisation in the last month of this financial year. Even though the upward revision for estimate for direct taxes has been thought through carefully, pending tax amounts in tax appeals and litigation will be the key focus area for discussion,” one of the officials cited above said.
The Economic Survey for 2017-18 had highlighted the fact that tax departments have gone in for contesting against several tax disputes but also with a low success rate which is below 30 per cent for both direct and indirect taxes. It said the courts and the tax department may gain from a reduction in appeals pursued at higher levels of the judiciary. “Less might be more,” it had said.
As per Economic Survey for 2017-18, there were approximately 1.37 lakh direct tax cases under consideration at the level of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), High Courts and Supreme Court as of March 2017.
“Just 0.2 per cent of these cases constituted nearly 56 per cent of the total demand value”, and on the other hand, “66 per cent of pending cases, each less than Rs. 10 lakh in claim amount, added up to a mere 1.8 per cent of the total locked-up value of pending cases”, the Survey had stated.
The tax department is, however, confident of meeting its milestone target of Rs 10 lakh crore this year, especially on the back of buoyant corporate tax collections. “We will meet Rs 10 lakh crore target for sure. Corporate tax collections have been extremely good this year,” a senior tax department official said.
As per data released by the CBDT last week, the government’s net direct tax collections for April-January rose 19.3 per cent year-on-year to Rs 6.95 lakh crore, primarily due to a sharp surge in net corporate tax collections. Corporate tax collections, on a net basis, recorded a double-digit growth of 19.2 per cent during April-January this fiscal as against 2.9 per cent growth seen in the same period last year. The net direct tax collections for April-January this year represent 69.2 per cent of the revised estimates of direct taxes at Rs 10.05 lakh crore.
‘Follow e-proceedings for all assesments, except searches’
New Delhi: Barring search-related assessments, the tax department has directed electronic proceedings for all other pending scrutiny assessment cases. It has added that the current system of manual assessment will continue in cases, where the books of accounts or original documents have to be examined, the taxman has to conduct a third-party investigation and where the tax officer has to examine a witness.
It will also be applicable to cases where the taxman has issued a show-cause notice to the assessee, “contemplating any adverse view”, and cases where the taxpayer has requested for a “personal hearing” to explain the matter to the assessing officer.
The CBDT on Monday issued an instruction regarding the electronic proceedings system. “…It is hereby directed that except for search-related assessments, proceedings in other pending scrutiny assessment cases shall be conducted only through the e-proceeding facility…,” the instruction said. ENS