India’s net direct tax collections for the first half of 2018-19 were 4.44 trillion, up 14% over the year-ago period, as a higher outgo on refunds dented overall collection.

Direct tax collections in the six months ended September are 38.6% of the budgeted estimates of 11.5 trillion for 2018-19, reflecting the challenge for the central government to stick to its fiscal deficit targets at a time revenues from the goods and services tax are also lagging behind targets.

The tax department in a statement said last year’s collections also included one-time revenues collected under the income disclosure scheme, leading to a higher base.

In the six months ending September 2018, gross direct tax collections rose 16.7% to 5.47 trillion as compared to the year-ago period. However, refunds amounting to 1.03 trillion were issued in th six-month period, up 30.4%, impacting growth of net collections. Net collections are arrived at after subtracting refunds from gross tax collections.

While gross corporate tax collection rose 19.5%, the personal income tax mop-up was 19.1% higher.

After adjusting for refunds, the net growth in corporate tax collection was 18.7% and personal income tax was 14.9%.

The statement added that advance tax collections were up 18.7% to 2.1 trillion, with 16.4% growth in corporate tax collection and 30.3% in personal income tax.