New Delhi: Government has so far refunded Rs 57,000 crore tax claims this fiscal and the small income tax payers are getting preference in refunds, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said Wednesday.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued directive to prioritise low value refunds, he told reporters.
"There is no holding up of any refund claim...The smaller assessee should be priority so that those who have due of Rs 3,000, Rs 4,000, Rs 5,000 should get refund first.
"Smaller tax payer is getting priority in refund. Somebody who has to get Rs 5 lakh can wait. Somebody who has to get Rs 5,000 should get first," the Minister said.
Last year around this time, he said, the tax refund was Rs 70,000 crore and this year so far it is Rs 57,000 crore.
He said the tax refunds were high in 2011-12 because the Department had decided to clear all arrears cases.
Chidambaram also expressed confidence of meeting the Rs 5.70 lakh crore direct tax collection target for the fiscal.
"I am confident we will meet direct tax collection target. (all those people) whose data we have about their purchases, mutual fund, if everybody pays advance tax then actually we will collect more than the target," he said.
He further said it will be "incorrect" to say that net tax is growing at 15 percent due of holding back of refund.
"There is no instruction to hold on refund and under automatic system there is no way to hold back refund. No human being can stop it," he said.
Referring to certain media reports, Chidambaram said, there is no rule which says net direct tax collection should grow as same rate as gross direct tax collections.
"What is real is net collection...Our net collection numbers are satisfactory," he said.
Net direct collections during April-November increased by 15.04 percent year-on-year, while the growth in gross direct tax collection stood at 7.14 percent.
Referring to recent advisory to advance tax payers, Chidambaram said "what we are trying to do...(is) that there is no advantage at all in suppressing information. Sooner or later, with data base which we have, will lead (Tax) Department to your door".
Last year the Department cleared nearly 76 lakh refund cases -- 47 lakh of 2010-11 assessment year and 29 lakh of next year.
"In current financial year we have done additional 11 lakh (cases). So there is no holding up of any refund claim," Chidambaram said adding the refund work has been taken up at the same pace as that in the previous year.