New Delhi: The economic slowdown is likely to take a toll on meeting the Budget estimate target of direct tax collections in the current fiscal.

"Not at all. How can I be confident (of meeting the budget estimate) when there is a slowdown? It will be difficult...now advance tax will come, let's see what happens in the next installment," CBDT Chairman M C Joshi said on the sidelines of an international tax conference here.

The Finance Ministry had in October revised the Budget estimate of direct tax collection upwards by Rs 53,000 crore to Rs 5,85,000 crore.

The revision was intended to bridge the shortfall that might occur due to reduction in customs duty on crude oil to offset the price rise.

Net direct tax collection rose 8.63 percent during the first eight months (April-Nov) of the current fiscal. "Now the growth rate is 8 to 9 per cent as compared to last year. To breach the target you need growth rate of 27 percent (in direct tax collection). We are not comfortable...," he said.

The Income Tax department has been able to achieve only
44 percent of the Budget estimate till now, a senior official said earlier this week.

The net direct tax collection grew 8.63 per cent to Rs 2,35,333 crore during the first eight months of this fiscal.

It stood at Rs 2,16,628 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to official sources.

The Income Tax department provided refunds to the tune of Rs 68,669 crore during the period, as against Rs 37,640 crore in the corresponding period last year. On whether additional steps were being taken to meet the target, Joshi said: "We are utilising information better. We are looking at the corporate sector, the top 3,000 companies as of now. They generate 70 percent of our revenue. Looking at them, how they are working...".

The gross corporate tax collection was up 19.61 percent at Rs 1,99,317 crore during April-November, against Rs 1,66,638 crore in the same period last year, sources said.

Similarly, net personal income tax was up 14 percent at Rs 88,567 crore.

(Agencies)