The two-day annual conference of chief commissioners and directors general of income tax, to be inaugurated by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday, will be an event of greater import this year as the government has targeted higher to mop up Rs.6.68 lakh crore through direct taxes this fiscal despite a tepid economic recovery.
Ostensibly, the focus of discussions during the two-day meeting will be on ways of augmenting revenue collection and devising ways and means of widening the tax base.
“The main areas for deliberations would be steps to augment revenue, tax administration reforms, strengthening of TDS [tax deduction at source] machinery, widening and deepening of tax base, improving taxpayer services and human resources management, among others,” an official statement said here.
With the direct revenue collection target for 2013-14 set much higher as compared to the mop-up of Rs.5.65 lakh crore in the previous fiscal year, the annual conference is expected to provide a platform to “chief commissioners/directors general to have direct interaction with the senior functionaries of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on various issues arising in the field.”
For one, despite the slowdown in economic activities, the government has launched a ‘non-adversarial’ initiative of reminding non-filers of income tax to file tax returns based on their ‘true income’ as the authorities have all the required data based on AIRs (annual information returns) and cash transaction reports (CTRs) related to their high value transactions. In fact, in continuation of its drive against non-filers, the Income Tax Department, on Monday, sent such ‘reminder’ letters to another batch of 35,000 assessees for not filing their returns. This takes the total number of letters dispatched till date to 1.75 lakh. In all, the I-T Department has identified 12,19,832 “high priority” individual assessees who have not filed their I-T returns although they come under the tax net.
“As part of its ongoing initiative, the I-T Department has sent today letters to another batch of 35,000 non-filers…The response to this initiative has been encouraging and a large number of taxpayers have paid taxes and filed I-T returns,” the Finance Ministry said in a separate statement here.
For this purpose, a compliance management cell has been set up to ensure follow-up action and track return filing and tax payment of the target segment. As done under the exercise earlier, another 70,000 letters are being sent in two batches to the identified high priority cases during this month. Of these, the first batch of 35,000 letters was dispatched on May 20.