The government is “on course to achieve” its fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent for 2017-18 supported by a pickup in direct tax and GST collections, finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia said on Monday. Direct tax collections for 2017-18 have exceeded Budget estimate at Rs 9.95 lakh crore (till March 31) and are set to meet the revised target of Rs 10.05 lakh crore, while GST collections for July-March stood at Rs 7,17,638 crore.
“We have exceeded our target of BE for direct taxes…on the whole, this year has been very good despite the fact that this was a year of uncertainty because of GST’s introduction but still, both in direct and indirect taxes we have broadly met our targets. We are very much on course to achieve our fiscal deficit target. We are absolutely confident that we are meeting the fiscal deficit target of this year,” Adhia said.
GST collections for February have also come in higher than previous month at Rs 89,264 crore (till March 31) than Rs 85,174 crore recorded till March 26, Adhia said.
Fiscal deficit for April-February had soared to Rs 7.15 lakh crore, which was 120 per cent of the revised estimate for the year.
The finance secretary said that more revenue will come in next 3-4 days, which has been held up in the system due to bank holidays. “At least next 3-4 days we will get adjustment of Rs 5,000 crore. It will be a landmark if we achieve Rs 10 lakh figure in current year,” Adhia said.
Net corporate income tax collections have risen 17.1 per cent and personal income tax (including STT) has grown 18.9 per cent in 2017-18. About 6.84 crore returns were filed in 2017-18, a growth of 26 per cent over 5.43 crore ITRs filed during FY17. Of this, 6.74 crore returns were e-filed. CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra said: “This was because of continuous follow up by our department. We have issued large number of SMS, emails on the basis of data with us because of which new returns have come and around Rs 13,000 crore of self assessment tax has also come in last two months due to continuous follow up by the department. In non-intrusive manner we have intimated to the assessee about their assets, properties and that’s why they have filed returns,” Chandra said.
Returns filed by firms also showed a rise, up to 9.38 lakh returns in 2017-18 from 8.10 lakh returns in 2016-17 and 7.83 lakh returns in 2015-16, an official said. About 1.73 crore SMS and emails were sent to taxpayers to prod them for making tax payments based on data collected by the department, the official added.
The ministry also detailed monthly GST collections as Rs 93,590 crore for July, Rs 93,029 crore for August, Rs 95,132 crore for September, Rs 85,931 crore for October, Rs 83,716 crore for November, Rs 88,929 crore for December, Rs 88,047 crore for January and Rs 89,264 crore for February.
Also, Rs 17,616 crore of refunds (including Integrated GST and Input Tax Credit) have been sanctioned under GST, out of which Rs 9,604 crore is of IGST refunds and Rs 8,012 crore of ITC refunds by Centre and states. Additionally, the government has disbursed Rs 16,680 crore as duty drawback from July-March and Rs 1,833.25 crore as RoSL claims to exporters.