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India’s Net Direct Tax Collections Surge by 21.8%, Surpassing Half of Budget Projections

India has witnessed a remarkable increase in its net direct tax collections, with a substantial growth rate of 21.8% amounting to ₹9.57 lakh crore by October 9. This surge has exceeded over half of the annual Budget estimates. The boost is primarily attributed to a 32.5% rise in personal income tax revenues and a 12.4% increase in corporate taxes.

Factors Driving the Surge:

  1. Strong Personal Income Tax Growth: Personal income tax collections have seen a remarkable upswing of 32.5%. This highlights the robust contribution of individual taxpayers to the country’s tax revenue.

  2. Corporations Contribute Significantly: Corporate taxes have also played a crucial role in this tax collection surge, showing a healthy increase of 12.4%. This reflects the resilience of India’s corporate sector.

Challenges and Refunds:

  1. Withheld Refunds: Tax refunds amounting to ₹1.5 lakh crore have been disbursed to taxpayers. However, certain refunds are being withheld due to pending tax demands from the past. Taxpayers are being given an opportunity to address these pending issues.

  2. Validation Hurdles: Approximately 35 lakh taxpayers are facing difficulties related to bank account validation. This issue arises from incorrect bank branch codes provided by taxpayers, adding to the challenges in the refund process.

Refund Threshold and Outstanding Dues:

  1. Refund Threshold: For refunds up to ₹5,000, the Income Tax (IT) department is not imposing restrictions. However, for amounts exceeding this threshold, taxpayers are informed about any outstanding tax dues.

  2. Legacy Tax Demands: Some tax demands date back to as early as 2010-11. These could be legacy cases from the transition period when the department shifted from manual registers to an online system for recording assessment orders.

Technology Shift and Resolution:

  1. Reasons for Pending Demands: The pending tax demands may be attributed to the technological transition or errors made by tax officers in updating demands. Taxpayers are being encouraged to respond to queries. If they agree with the demand, it is adjusted against the refund. If contested, further actions are taken based on the data provided by taxpayers to update the system.

  2. Impact on Refunds: This procedural issue is responsible for holding up some tax refunds, emphasizing the need for a streamlined resolution process.

Filing Statistics:

  1. Filing Trends: As of September 23, a total of 7.09 crore income tax returns were filed, with 2.75 crore refunds already issued. By October 9, the number of filed returns had increased to 7.27 crore, and 7.15 crore returns were verified. In the previous year, 7.5 crore tax returns were filed, indicating steady tax compliance.

Budget Projections:

  1. Impressive Collection: The current direct tax collection, excluding refunds, accounts for 52.5% of the annual Budget estimates. Gross collections have reached ₹11.07 lakh crore, marking an 18% growth compared to the same period in the previous year. Corporate tax collections have grown by 7.3%, and personal income tax revenues have increased by 29.5%.

  2. Securities Transaction Tax: In addition to direct taxes, revenues from the Securities Transaction Tax have contributed significantly. The personal income tax kitty has experienced growth of 29.1% at the gross revenue level and 31.85% in net revenues.

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