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Current taxpayers number too small: CBDT chief

PTI
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“For sure, potential for tax collection is much higher than what we achieve at present,” says Sharma.
“For sure, potential for tax collection is much higher than what we achieve at present,” says Sharma.

The current number of people who pay taxes in the country is “too small” and the Income Tax department will focus on non-filers and stop-filers to increase government’s revenue collection, newly appointed CBDT chairperson, Sudha Sharma told her officers today.

Sharma, a 1976 batch-IRS officer, in her first communication to the Income Tax department after taking over the top post of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) this month, also doubted the accuracy of the latest data that only 42,800 people in the country have an annual income of more than Rs one crore.

“As tax collectors of the country we have a pivotal role to play in national growth. The huge target of budget collection, for the year 2012-13, may not be an easy task but we should consider that the base of only about 3.5 crore assesses, a mere 2.9 per cent of national population, wherein only 42,800 show annual income over Rs one crore, is too small for a country like ours.”

“For sure, potential for tax collection is much higher than what we achieve at present,” Sharma said.

The government plans to collect over Rs 6.68 lakh crore in direct taxes during 2013-14, up from Rs 5.65 lakh crore in the previous fiscal.

Sharma said while the I-T department’s endeavour would be to promote voluntary compliance and provide a hassle-free service to honest tax payers, it would also “need to focus on non-filers and stop-filers in order to enhance the tax base and augment tax collection.”

“We aim at achieving a tax regulation regimen in India which can match the best in the world,” she said.

Sharma said the Finance Minister P Chidambaram has also recently asked I-T department to work in this direction.

(This article was published on June 17, 2013)
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