As mentioned in the first part, the government has to present a revenue budget (revenue account) and capital budget (capital account) for all the three funds. The revenue account of the consolidated fund is split into two parts, receipts and disbursements – simply, income and expenditure. Receipts are broadly tax revenue, non-tax revenue and grants-in-aid and contributions. The important tax revenue items are listed below.
It was introduced in Budget 2005-06. The government felt many companies were disguising perquisites such as club facilities as ordinary business expenses, which escaped taxation altogether. Employers have to now pay FBT on a percentage of the expense incurred on such perquisites.
Securities transaction tax (STT): Sale of any asset (shares, property) results in loss or profit. Depending on the time the asset is held, such profits and losses are categorised as long-term or short-term capital gain/loss. In Budget 2004-05, the government abolished long-term capital gains tax on shares (tax on profits made on sale of shares held for more than a year) and replaced it with STT. It is a kind of turnover tax where the investor has to pay a small tax on the total consideration paid / received in a share transaction.
Banking cash transaction tax (BCTT): Introduced in Budget 2005-06, BCTT is a small tax on cash withdrawal from bank exceeding a particular amount in a single day.
Customs: Taxes imposed on imports. While revenue is an important consideration, Customs duties may also be levied to protect the domestic industry or sector (agriculture, for one), in retaliation against measures by other countries.
Union Excise Duty: Duties imposed on goods made in India. Service Tax: It is a tax on services rendered. Telephone bill, for instance, attracts a service tax.
Fringe benefit tax (FBT): The taxation of perquisites – or fringe benefits – provided by an employer to his employees, in addition to the cash salary or wages paid, is fringe benefit tax
Direct Tax Traditionally, these are taxes where the burden of tax falls on the person on whom it is levied. These are largely taxes on income or wealth. Income tax (on corporates and individuals), FBT, STT and BCTT are direct taxes.
Indirect Tax In case of indirect taxes, the incidence of tax is usually not on the person who pays the tax. These are largely taxes on expenditure and include Customs, excise and service tax.
Indirect taxes are considered regressive, the burden on the rich and the poor is alike. That is why governments strive to raise a higher proportion of taxes through direct taxes. Moving on, we come to the next important receipt item in the revenue account, non-tax revenue.
Various services provided by the government – police and defence, social and community services such as medical services, and economic services such as power and railways – also yield revenue for the government.
Grants-in-aid and contributions The third receipt item in the revenue account is relatively small grants-in-aid and contributions. These are in the nature of pure transfers to the government without any repayment obligation.
Non-tax revenue The most important receipts under this head are interest payments (received on loans given by the government to states, railways and others) and dividends and profits received from public sector companies
We now look at the disbursements section of the revenue account of the consolidated fund. It lists all the revenue expenditures of the government. These include expense incurred on organs of state such as Parliament, judiciary and elections. A substantial amount goes into administering fiscal services such as tax collection. The biggest item is interest payment on loans taken by the government. Defence and other services like police also get a sizeable share. Having looked at receipts and expenditure on revenue account we come to an important item, the difference between the two, the revenue deficit.