There are reports in a certain section of media that the growth of direct taxes collection for the FY 2019-20 has fallen drastically and buoyancy of the direct tax collection as compared to the GDP growth has reached negative. These reports do not portray the correct picture regarding the growth of direct taxes. It is a fact that the net direct tax collection for the FY 2019-20 was less than the net direct tax collection for the FY 2018-19. But this fall in the collection of direct taxes is on expected lines and is temporary in nature due to the historic tax reforms undertaken and much higher refunds issued during the FY 2019-20.
This fact becomes more apparent if we compare the gross collection (which removes anomalies created by the variation in the amount of refund given in a year) after taking into account the revenue foregone estimated for the bold tax reforms undertaken, discussed below, which have a direct impact on the direct taxes collection for FY 2019-20. It may also be noted that in FY 2019-20, amount of total refunds given was Rs. 1.84 lakh crore as compared to Rs. 1.61 lakh crore in FY 2018-19 which is a 14% increase year-on-year.
1. Reduction in corporate tax rate for all existing domestic companies: In order to promote growth and investment, the Government has brought in a historic tax reform through the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 which provided a concessional tax regime of 22% for all existing domestic companies from FY 2019-20 if they do not avail any specified exemption or incentive. Further, such companies have also been exempted from payment of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
II. Incentive for new manufacturing domestic companies: In order to attract investment in manufacturing sector, the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 has drastically reduced the tax rate to 15% for new manufacturing domestic company if such company does not avail any specified exemption or incentive. These companies have also been exempted from payment of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
III. Reduction in MAT rate: In order to provide relief to the companies which continue to avail exemption/deduction and pay tax under MAT, the rate of MAT has also been reduced from 18.5% to 15%.
IV. Exemption from income-tax to individuals earning income up to Rs. 5 lakh and increase in standard deduction: Further, to provide complete relief from payment of income-tax to individuals earning taxable income up to Rs. 5 lakh, the Finance Act, 2019 exempted an individual taxpayer with taxable income up to Rs. 5 lakh by providing 100% tax rebate. Also, to provide relief to the salaried taxpayers, the Finance Act, 2019 enhanced the standard deduction from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000.
2. The revenue impact of these reforms have been estimated at Rs. 1.45 lakh crore for Corporate Tax and at Rs.23,200 crore for the Personal Income Tax (PIT). Tax buoyancy on gross direct tax collection after adjusting the revenue foregone for the above mentioned tax reforms is as under:
(Rs. in crore)