New Delhi: India’s corporate and income tax collection for the current year may fall for the first time in at least two decades, claimed a Reuters report. A number of tax officials have expressed this apprehension. Also Read - Growth Slowdown in India Will Improve Soon as Markets Looking up After US-China Trade Deal, Says IMF Chief

The Centre, according to reports, was eying at a collection of Rs 13.4 lakh crore by March 31. The estimate is a 17 per cent increase from last year. Also Read - As IMF Lowers India's Growth Forecast, P Chidambaram Predicts Government Attack on Gita Gopinath

But tax collections will be lower this year, anticipate experts. “Forget the target. This will be the first time that we’ll see a fall in direct tax collection ever,” said a tax official to Reuters. Also Read - IMF Slashes India's Growth Estimate For 2019 to 4.8%, Projects to Improve in 2020

“We’ll be very happy if we can even breakeven with what we collected last year,” said another senior tax official in the financial capital Mumbai, the biggest tax generator, accounting for about a third of revenues from direct taxes. “But given the state of the economy, I’m not too hopeful.”

The tax department had managed to collect only Rs 7.3 lakh crore as of January 23, more than 5.5 per cent below the amount collected by the same point last year, said a senior tax official.

While this strikes a negative note, the International Monetary Fund sounded hopeful as it predicted good times for India’s economy in 2020. The growth slowdown that India is experiencing now will not continue for long as markets worldwide are at a better place in January 2020 than what they were last year, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said at World Economic Forum 2020.