Corporate advance tax collections for the December quarter went up by 15 per cent, with State Bank of India (SBI) and Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) continuing to lead the numbers.
SBI, the country's largest lender, led the pack despite paying lower advance tax compared to last year. This quarter, the bank paid Rs 1,701 crore, compared to Rs 1,730 crore last year. State-run insurer LIC paid Rs 1,297 crore. Among private and foreign banks, HDFC Bank Ltd, India's second largest private bank, has paid the highest advance tax of Rs 1,000 crore, up from Rs 900 crore last year, while its peer ICICI Bank Ltd paid Rs 675 crore, compared to Rs 500 crore. Standard Chartered Bank's tax outflow stood at Rs 490 crore, whereas Deustche Bank's payout doubled to Rs 300 core.
"If regular collections also witness a rise, then we will be able to meet this year's target," said a senior income tax official. This financial year's target is pegged at Rs 1.78 lakh crore, while the target for corporate tax collection is Rs 1.25 lakh crore.
In the pharma space, Lupin Ltd paid significantly higher tax of Rs 133 crore, compared to Rs 43 crore last year, while Cipla Ltd saw a rise of 31.5 per cent at Rs 125 crore. GlaxoSmithKline was higher at Rs 90 crore this quarter. While Tata Motors Ltd, India's largest vehicle maker, has not paid any amount for the quarter, utility vehicles maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd paid Rs 295 crore, up from Rs 207 crore in the year-ago period.
"There has been a slight revival in the economic environment, companies are conservative in the first half of the fiscal. Once they get more clarity on their results, they pay higher taxes in the second half of the year," said Krishan Malhotra, head, taxation at Amarchand and Mangaldas and Suresh A Shroff and Co.
Among metal companies, JSW Steel Ltd's advance tax outflow was Rs 130 core against Rs 50 crore it paid last year, while Tata Steel Ltd's outflow was down 52 per cent to Rs 520 crore.
UltraTech Cement Ltd, an Aditya Birla Group firm, paid lower taxes at Rs 250 crore, compared to Rs 200 crore last year. Ambuja Cements Ltd paid taxes worth Rs 150 crore and ACC Ltd paid Rs 112 crore. Advance tax is paid by companies in four installments (in June, September, December and March) based on an assessment of their profits during the quarter. Advance tax outflows are likely to have drained Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore liquidity from the system.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, India's largest software exporter, saw its tax outflow at Rs 810 crore, compared to Rs 530 crore last year, while Tech Mahindra's tax outflow remained stagnant at Rs 60 crore.
Fast moving consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd paid the IT department an advance tax of Rs 450 crore against Rs 290 crore it paid last year, while Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd paid Rs 60 crore, up from 39 crore in the December quarter of the previously financial year.
Oil refining and marketing company IndianOil Corp Ltd, the largest fuel retailer, has not paid the advance tax department, while Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, another state-run refiner, has paid Rs 201 crore.
The National Stock Exchange paid higher advance tax of Rs 41 crore, compared to Rs 39 crore in the year-ago period.