Budget 2020: India Stares At Rs 2-lakh-Crore Tax Shortfall; Little Room For Personal Income Tax Relief
File photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a public rally in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh (Photograph: PTI)

Budget 2020: India Stares At Rs 2-lakh-Crore Tax Shortfall; Little Room For Personal Income Tax Relief

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Tax collections in the current financial year may fall short of target by as much as Rs 2 lakh crore 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 FY20 targets by as much as Rs 1.5 lakh crore, while indirect taxes may fall short by about Rs 50,000 crore on a drop in the goods and services tax 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 missing the disinvestment target by a wide margin would limit her largesse.

The exchequer was shaved off Rs 1.45 lakh crore 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 percent from 30 percent, and to 15 percent from 25 percent for new manufacturing firms incorporated after Oct. 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 Rs 1,400 crore.

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

Also read: Budget 2020: Government May Consider Import Duty Cut On Raw Material For Fertiliser Industry

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 GST collections and customs too.

The shortfall on the indirect tax side would be at least Rs 50,000 crore by any conservative estimate, sources said. Several experts, including former Finance Secretary SC Garg, have indicated at a tax shortfall between Rs 2-2.5 lakh crore during the current fiscal.

“Overall, there is likely to be a shortfall of Rs 3.5-3.75 lakh crore in gross tax collections of the centre. Expecting that the centre could revise transfers to the states out of the centre taxes (about 32 percent of shortfall), the net taxes to the centre are likely to be short by Rs 2.5 lakh crore, or 1.2 percent of GDP,” Garg had said in a recent blog.

Direct tax revenues — corporation income tax and personal income tax — together as per the Budget estimate has been pegged at Rs 13.35 lakh crore, which is 16 percent higher than the Budget estimate (Rs 11.50 lakh crore) and 11.25 percent higher than the revised estimate (Rs 12 lakh crore). Of this corporation income tax is expected to contribute Rs 7.66 lakh crore and personal income tax Rs 5.69 lakh crore in 2019-20.

With regard to indirect tax, total amount budgeted as receipts for GST is Rs 6.63 lakh crore for the current fiscal. Total customs revenues were budgeted to bring in gross receipts of Rs 1.56 lakh crore, while excise is expected to garner Rs 3 lakh crore during 2019-20.

Also read: Budget 2020: Don’t Give Us Tax And Fiscal Sops, Just Give Us TRUST

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

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

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