“The government has benefited from demonetisation, as people have started reporting higher income,” Sushil Chandra, chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, told Business Standard.
Overall advance taxes, both personal and corporate, grew by 11.9 per cent to Rs 58,783 crore. Advance tax is paid within a specified period after the money is earned, rather than waiting for the end of the financial year.
Electronic filing of income tax returns up to June for 2016-17 grew by 18 per cent, suggesting that more people regularised their unaccounted income. “People are aware now that the income tax department is carrying out lots of searches and surveys and that black money will not be tolerated any more,” said Chandra.
Corporate advance tax collections were up 8.1 per cent. Corporate tax collection, net of refunds, grew by 22 per cent; gross collections grew 4.8 per cent. Refunds, worth Rs 55,520 crore, were 5.2 per cent lower than last year.
“Last year, we cleared a lot of pending refunds for the year-ago period, whereas there are no pending refunds of the past fiscal (year) this time,” said an official.
The personal income tax growth is over a high base of the previous year. Last year, net personal income tax posted a 48 per cent rise in the first quarter on account of a change in rules, requiring non-corporates to also pay 15 per cent advance tax by June 15, against 30 per cent by September 15.
Overall personal income tax, net of refunds, posted a 12.9 per cent growth. “This time, the high growth in personal income tax is on a high base,” Chandra said.
Direct tax collection for 2017-18 has been budgeted 15.7 per cent higher than the previous year, at Rs 9.8 lakh crore. Last year, on account of two income declaration schemes, the government collected Rs 8.47 lakh crore in net direct taxes, 14.2 per cent higher than the growth a year before.