Even as the final advance tax numbers are awaited, it appears that direct tax collections this year may find it tough to meet the government’s target. Government officials said direct tax collections are seen at Rs 2.72 lakh crore till today. March collections were at Rs 10,000 crore so far and are running slower than expected. They further stated that there is a need to wait for advance tax payment figures till March 15. The revised estimate for direct tax is at Rs 3.45 lakh crore for FY09.

Here is a verbatim transcript of Siddarth Zarabi’s comments on CNBC-TV18.

It’s not a surprise there is of course a clear correlation to the slowdown. In the Interim Budget that was presented, the government had revised the target for 2008-09 to Rs 3,45,000 crore and what I pick up from my sources is that till early afternoon, today the total direct tax collection stood at Rs 2,72,000 crore and the March collection; March is always a very interesting month for collection. In March 2007 around Rs 60,000 crore were collected and in March 2008 the number rouse to Rs 80,000 crore. But this year so far it’s only Rs 10,000 crore and that has set alarm bells ringing.

Officials still say that they will have to wait for the final figures of the advance tax payments to come in and collate the data post 15th March. But at this point of time the revenue department would need to collect another Rs 50,000 crore in the remaining days of this month to reach the target of Rs 3,45,000 crore. So it’s a bit of a stretch at this point of time. But a final picture will emerge within the next five-seven days.

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