CBDT asks tax officials to step up TDS survey operations to boost collections


New Delhi: With the current financial year inching towards closure, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has directed the taxman to step up survey operations to check non-deduction of tax deducted at source (TDS) by firms and employers, especially in cases where such payments have dropped by more than 15% as compared to last time.

The CBDT recently reviewed TDS collections and found that the income tax department had netted Rs2.85 lakh crore revenue till 31 January, at a growth rate of 14.79% over the corresponding period of last fiscal. The set target in this regard is Rs3.50 lakh crore. The overall direct tax collection for the current 2016-17 fiscal, that ends on 31 March is over Rs8.47 lakh crore, of which TDS collections constitute a major chunk.

CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra, in a recent communication to all his regional I-T chiefs across the country, has underlined the need to conduct an increased number of survey operations (where the taxman visits business premises of an assessee) and on-spot verifications with regard to TDS deductions.

“There are expectations for the TDS collections to significantly exceed the target so as to compensate for sluggish growth in advance tax and regular assessment tax. In view of this, there is a need to step up efforts for enhancing TDS collections. More TDS surveys are required to be conducted to check large scale non-deduction or under- deduction of tax at source as well as more importantly, non-deposit of tax already deducted,” Chandra wrote.

The CBDT boss added that “all cases where the TDS payments by the deductor in the current year is more than 15% lower than the payments in the corresponding period of last year may be examined for possible spot verification or survey based on the compliance background of the deductor.”

He asked the principal chief commissioners of the department, who head I-T ranges, to keep an eye out on the government-sector TDS deductions. “It is noted that the collections under the central government TDS are not commensurate with the level of expenditure made by the central government on salaries, contract payments.

Moreover, tax deducted by the central government DDOs (drawing and disbursing officers) is not transferred to the tax account of the central government within the prescribed time and there are long delays, especially at the level of the state accountant generals,” he said.

“The I-T commissioners of TDS located in state capitals are directed to ensure that there is proper verification of tax at source by the central government offices located in the state and that the same is credited to the tax account forthwith and in any case before the close of the financial year,” the CBDT boss’ communication said.

All I-T offices have also been asked to submit an updated report on action taken on these directions and progressive TDS collections by this month’s end to the CBDT.