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The exchequer was shaved off  ₹1.45 trillion as the govt slashed corporate tax rates up to 10 percentage points, the biggest reduction in 28 years (Photo: Reuters)
The exchequer was shaved off 1.45 trillion as the govt slashed corporate tax rates up to 10 percentage points, the biggest reduction in 28 years (Photo: Reuters)

Room for income tax relief limited as collections may fall short

  • Income and corporate tax collections are likely to miss FY2020 targets by as much as 1.5 trillion
  • Indirect taxes may fall short by about 50,000 crore on drop in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in a sluggish economy

NEW DELHI : Tax collections in the current fiscal may fall short of targets by as much as 2 trillion on faltering economy, leaving a very little room for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for offering any meaningful reduction in personal income tax rates.

Sources with direct knowledge of the development said income and corporate tax collections are likely to miss FY2020 targets by as much as 1.5 trillion while indirect taxes may fall short by about 50,000 crore on drop in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in a sluggish economy.

Expectations were that Sitharaman, who had in September last year cut corporate tax rates to their lowest to boost economic growth, would announce similar sops for individual taxpayers, but lower than expected tax collections and government's missing disinvestment target by a wide margin would limit her largesse.

The exchequer was shaved off 1.45 trillion as the government slashed corporate tax rates up to 10 percentage points, the biggest reduction in 28 years.

Base corporate tax for existing companies has been reduced to 22% from 30%, and to 15% from 25% for new manufacturing firms incorporated after October 1, 2019, and starting operations before March 31, 2023.

Besides, the government withdrew the enhanced surcharge on long- and short-term capital gains for FPIs as well as domestic portfolio investors. This resulted in revenue implication of 1,400 crore.

Since August, the government announced other measures having some revenue implication in its effort to stimulate the economy.

There are constraints not only on direct tax side but indirect tax collection is also under stress due to slowdown, sources said, adding, the moderation in demand will surely have bearing on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections and customs too.

The shortfall on the indirect tax side would be at least 50,000 crore by any conservative estimate, sources added.

Several experts including former Finance Secretary S C Garg have indicated at tax shortfall between 2 lakh and 2.5 trillion during the current fiscal.

"Overall, there is likely to be shortfall of 3.5 to 3.75 trillion in gross tax collections of the Centre. Expecting that the Centre could revise transfers to the states out of the centre taxes (about 32% of shortfall), the net taxes to the Centre are likely to be short by Rs. 2.5 trillion or 1.2% of GDP," he had said in a recent blog.

Direct tax revenues - Corporation Income Tax (CIT) and Personal Income Tax (PIT) - together as per the Budget Estimate has been pegged at 13.35 trillion, which is 16% higher than the Budget estimate ( 11.50 trillion) and 11.25% higher than the revised estimate ( 12 trillion).

Of this CIT is expected to contribute 7.66 trillion and PIT 5.69 trillion in 2019-20.

With regard to indirect tax, total amount budgeted as receipts for GST is 6.63 trillion for the current fiscal.

Total customs revenues were budgeted to bring in gross receipts of 1.56 trillion while excise expected to garner 3 trillion during 2019-20.

The government has budgeted gross tax revenues of the Centre at 24.59 trillion. Setting aside 8.09 trillion as the share of the states, the budgeted net tax revenues to the Centre has been kept at 16.50 trillion.

This was 3.13 trillion higher than the provisional/actual net tax revenues of 13.37 trillion collected in 2018-19, an increase of 23.4%.

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