NEW DELHI: More Indians are now filing tax returns with nearly one crore new filers joining the system in 2017-18 as the revenue department reported robust increase in direct tax receipts.
The tax department said during 2017-18, 6.8 crore income tax returns were filed – up 26 per cent from previous year’s 5.4 crore returns. There has been a significant increase in the number of I-T returns filed in the last four years on the back of a sustained drive undertaken by the government to expand the tax base and its campaign against black money.
The rollout of goods and services tax (GST) is expected to help boost revenues on the indirect taxes front. Healthy increase in direct tax receipts helped the revenue department cross the Budget estimates for 2017-18. Direct tax receipts totalled Rs 9.9 lakh crore, up 17.1 per cent than the net collections of 2016-17. The net direct tax receipts represent 101.5 per cent of the Budget estimates of Rs 9.8 lakh crore and 99 per cent of the revised estimates of Rs 10 lakh crore in 2017-18.
“I hope this Rs 9.9 lakh crore will reach up to more than Rs 10 lakh crore. At least in next three to four days, we will get adjustment of Rs 5,000 crore. It will be a landmark if we achieve Rs 10-lakh-crore figure in current year,” finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia, who is also the revenue secretary, told a news conference.
CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra said more collections are likely to come and help raise the figures and attributed the robust receipts to the government’s efforts to use data and information to rope in new taxpayers.
“This was because of continuous follow-up by our department. We have issued a large number of SMSs, 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 come in last two months due to continuous follow-up by the department,” he said. “In non-intrusive manner, we have intimated to the assessees about their assets, properties and that’s why they have filed returns,” Chandra said.
Tax authorities added that revenues from GST have remained buoyant after a dip in December. The March data showed that it was hitting the Rs 90,000-crore mark.
Adhia expressed confidence of meeting the fiscal deficit target for the current financial year, due to recovery in revenue receipts – both in the direct and indirect tax segments.
“On the whole, this year (2017-18) has been very good. Although it was a year of uncertainty for revenue due to the implementation of the goods and services tax and other reforms, we have still broadly met revenue targets, and are on course of meeting the fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent,” Adhia said.
He said the e-way bill has been rolled out successfully and has been glitch-free, while GSTN has coped well. From April 1, it has become mandatory to register on the e-way bill system for all interstate movement of goods.
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