Revenue from direct taxes up by 40 pc: CBDT member

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Pune, Jan 17 (UNI) Central Board Of Direct Taxes (CBDT) member (Revenue) Saroj Bala today said the revenue collected by department had registered a growth of 40 per cent nationally, of which 68 per cent was from Mumbai and 46 per cent from Pune.

Addressing a news conference here after a meeting with 40 officials and Commissioners of Pune Circle inclusing Thane and Nashik, she said the department had already crossed expectations of economists and fiscal experts with over 40 per cent growth in collection, when only 16 per cent growth was projected over the previous corresponding period.

She said the Finance Minister had promised one per cent of the collections to build infrastructure if the targets were met and crossed. The department received Rs 195 crore which are being utilised to provide better services and amenities to the tax payers.

''This year we have a target of Rs 500 crore for our departement, which means that we need to collect around Rs 50,000 crore, this is achievable,'' she said confidently.

She pointed out that the tax department continued to be outwitted by the multinational companies, who had businesses globally and had multiple level agreements and transactions.

''We need to train staff and study the systems to be able to assess them,'' she said.

The member said the collections from salaried persons like the Central and state government employees who pay tax deductible at source (TDS) continued to be less. For this, steps like trainings will be undertaken.

''We now focus on educating the assessees and do not believe in imposing penalties,'' she said.

Ms Bala said the department was taking measures by fixing open days to interact with the tax payers. No longer would appointments be necessary, besides a team including personnel from Infosys, NIIT and Hewitt were working on a project where all tax-related queries would be addressed through call centres set up for the purpose, she said.

To a query, she said the tax collected from public sector units continued to be high. For instance, Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) is the highest tax payer (Rs 6213 crore), followed by State Bank Of India (SBI) Rs 2,645 crore, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) Rs 2,480 crore, Reliance Industries Rs 1,989 crore and LIC Rs 1,961 crore.

Talking about Pune circle, she said the targets had to be revised owing to high collections for 2007-08. The target of Rs 10,576 crore was revised to Rs 12,446 crore, of which Rs 8,887 crore had been collected.

In Pune, among the top five were Bank of Maharashtra that continued to be the highest tax payer with Rs 121 crore, followed by Thermax Rs 102 crore, Bharat Forge Rs 77 crore, Cummins Rs 90 crore and Daimler-Chrysler Rs 90 crore till January this year.

From April 1 last year to January 15 this year, the department had conducted searches at total 29 groups, and issued search warrants to 161 groups. It made seizures of Rs 26.37 crore and disclosures of Rs 131 crore.

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