FM asks CBDT to revise upwards target for direct taxes

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (UNI) Buoyed by robustness in direct tax collections, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to steeply hike the target for direct tax collections.

Direct Tax collections have increased by over 36 per cent during 2007-08, with the figure standing at Rs 3,14,468 crore.

The budget has estimated tax collections for 2008-09 this fiscal to be of the order of Rs 3,65,000 crore.

''The estimate will no longer be Rs 3,65,000 crore. The CBDT will meet over the next couple of days and increase the estimate upwards,'' Mr Chidambaram told reporters here after the annual conference of Chief Commissioners of Income Tax.

He said even if a 25 per cent growth is estimated over last year's figure, the budget estimate must be revised upwards sharply.

The Finance Minister warned that during searches and surveys, if anyone is found not filing or has stopped filing returns on income for the last three years, their case will be taken up for prosecution. Fifteen such cases have already been identified, he said.

When asked about the reasons for his optimism about on direct tax collections in the current fiscal despite fear of slowdown of the economy, Mr Chidambaram said ''every estimate says that economy will still grow at 8.5 per cent this fiscal''.

Referring to non-compliance of TDS rules by the some Ministries, Mr Chidambaram said, ''we are not happy with TDS deductions in the Defence Ministry and Railways Ministry. We are taking steps to sensitise the authorised deductors in the government sector to comply with law and improve the TDS.'' Steps are being taken to work with the Ministries of Defence and Railways. ''We are confident there would be significant improvement in 2008-09,'' he said.

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