As Budget date gets closer, pressure is mounting on the tax officers to mop-up higher collection with government asking them to go whole hog in collection and not give sharp cut in corporate tax as an excuse for lower revenue.
In a video conference on Monday with officers of both direct and indirect tax officers, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey is learnt to have raised target for GST collection in the coming months.
While monthly GST collection in the current financial year has slipped below Rs 1 lakh crore-mark on some occasions, the target for the coming months has been fixed at Rs 1.10 lakh crore. For the peak collection month, it has been set at Rs 1.25 lakh crore.
Noting that corporate tax relief to the tune of Rs 1.45 lakh crore should not be taken as an excuse, the Revenue Secretary is learnt to have told officers that they must exhort themselves to reach the target of Rs 13.5 lakh crore in direct taxes.
In a big bonanza for corporates, the government had last September slashed the corporate tax rate to 22 per cent from 30 per cent for existing companies, and to 15 per cent from 25 per cent for new manufacturing companies.
The senior officers of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) have been directed to go on field visits to ensure that collection level increases in the remaining period of the financial year 2019-20.
In order to crack the whip on the evaders, it has been decided that data from GST return information would be shared with Income Tax department for close scrutiny.
Emphasising on stricter compliance under GST, the officers have been directed to cancel registration and blocking of input tax credits for defaulters.
"Efforts are being made to exhort officers at all levels to maximise tax collections while at the same time ensuring that genuine taxpayers are not harassed," a Finance Ministry source said.
In coming weeks, the Revenue Secretary would go on field visits to personally monitor the collection efforts of the department. The top officers from the boards would also make regular visits to achieve revenue targets.