Indirect Tax Collection Target Challenging but Achievable: Finance Minister

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Indirect Tax Collection Target Challenging but Achievable: Finance Minister
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the indirect taxes collection target of Rs. 6.23 lakh crore for the current fiscal year (2014-15) is a challenging one but efforts are on to achieve it by taking steps to boost growth.

"The revenue targets in the case of indirect taxes for the current financial year 2014-15 are challenging one but are very much achievable. The revenue targets for indirect taxes for the current financial year is fixed at Rs. 6,23,244 crore, with an overall growth rate of more than 25 per cent," he said.

In order to spur growth, he said, the government has in the past few months concentrated on improving areas of manufacturing and infrastructure.

"Last few years have been somewhat difficult as far as the Indian economy is concerned. In last few years when you had modest growth rate, they were coupled with either a static or negative growth rate especially in manufacturing, as a result some of the indirect taxes took the hit," he said while addressing Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax in Delhi.

However, the government has taken a series of measures in the past two months both inside and outside the Budget process in this direction to boost the performance of these sectors. Figures relating to manufacturing sector in the months of June and July this year are quite encouraging, he said, adding that if this trend continued for a few more months, only then it will constitute a pattern.

Highlighting that the government is in favour of trade facilitation, he said efficient trade facilitation leads to substantial reduction in transactional cost for the businesses.

With respect to trade facilitation in taxation, he said a large number of irritants which had been created particularly in the tax administration, have been consciously addressed.

He emphasised that trade facilitation will not only bring ease in doing business in the country but will also reduce the cost of doing business.

Mr Jaitley asked the senior officers of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to work as a facilitator for tax payers and at the same time take action wherever they find cases of revenue leakages or tax evasion.

The cost of tax collection - both in case of direct and indirect taxes in our country - is not very high and further investment in strengthening the tax infrastructure in the country will bring better returns to the exchequer of the government, he said.

The minister also laid emphasis upon reducing tax litigation and tax settlement mechanism to unlock the money held up due to litigation.

Speaking on the occasion, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das said growth in the first quarter in indirect tax collections has been about 4.5 per cent only, but in June, the growth has been 13.5 per cent overall.

The growth pattern has been very good in July, he added.

Das further said a lot of focus has been given towards simplification of procedures, rationalization measures and ensuring that the department plays a non-adversarial role.

The government has attempted to address the problem of inverted duty structure in a very big way on the Central Excise and Customs side, he said, adding that officers should play a non-adversarial role.

CBEC chairperson J M Shanti Sundharam said the department with its wealth of experience in taxing both goods and services is confident of its capacity to administer goods and services tax (GST) which is on top of the government agenda.

The department is committed towards contributing towards policy formulation and implementation of GST, a game changing reform, she added.

She informed that the department had taken several IT initiatives to facilitate the taxpayers including Single Window facility.

This facility enables a single-point interface for trade to lodge, complete and obtain clearances for all import, export and border control related regulatory requirements. It will involve coordination between more than 14 other agencies under different Ministries, she said.

"It is our endeavour to create a culture which encourages maximum voluntary tax compliance, and nurtures a predictable, credible, and stable tax regime," she added.

PTI

Read more about: tax, jaitley, finance minister
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