Less than 100 tax payers — all companies — made for more than one fifth of the income tax paid during the assessment year 2017-18 i.e. fiscal year 2016-17. Meanwhile, the number of crorepati assessees has gone up by 60 per cent since the assessment year 2014-15, for which experts attribute demonetisation as one of the reasons.
Income tax returns data was made public by the Central Board of Direct Taxes on Monday from e-filed returns (digitally signed, e-verified or where ITRV has been received) and paper returns captured in the system up to August 31, 2018. The department adopts consistency rules to filter data to be used for analysis. Accordingly, over 4.98 crore returns for assessment year 2017-18 and 4.94 crore for assessment year 2016-17 were used for statistical analysis.
According to the data, just 94 tax payers with income of over ₹500 crore paid total of ₹1.64 lakh crore during fiscal year 2016-17, which was the year of demonetisation. Just a year before, total number of such assessees was 86 and sum of tax payable was over ₹1.46 lakh crore. It means the total number of such big assessees went up by 8 while tax paid went up by over ₹18,000crore. During the period under review, total number of returns filed (considered for analysis) went up to 4.98 lakh crore from 4.94 lakh crore while sum of tax payable increased to over ₹7.17 lakh crore from over ₹6.23 lakh crore.
Interestingly, just one individual showed income of over ₹500 crore (₹919 crore to precise) during the year of demonetisation while this number was four a year before with total income of ₹2,730 crore.
The number of taxpayers earning above ₹1 crore per annum rose to over 1.40 lakh during the last four years, a growth of about 60 per cent. Among this, number of individual taxpayers earning over ₹1 crore annually had seen a growth of about 68 per cent. While 88,649 taxpayers had disclosed income above ₹1 crore in assessment year 2014-15, the figure was 1,40,139 for assessment year 2017-18, which is a growth of about 60 per cent. Similarly, the number of individual taxpayers disclosing income above ₹1 crore had increased during the same period from 48,416 to 81,344, which translated into a growth of 68 per cent.
During a three-year period (Assessment Year 2014-15 to 2017-18), the number of salaried taxpayers increased from 1.70 crore (Assessment Year 2014-15) to 2.33 crore (Assessment Year 2017-18). This is a rise of 37 per cent. Also, the average income declared by the salaried taxpayers went up by 19 per cent from ₹5.76 lakh to ₹6.84 lakh. During the same period, there has also been a growth of 19 per cent in the number of non-salaried individual taxpayers from 1.95 crore to 2.33 crore and the average non-salary income declared has increased by 27 per cent from ₹4.11 lakh in Assessment Year 2014-15 to ₹5.23 lakh in Assessment Year 2017-18.
Talking about the corporate taxpayers, CBDT, said the average tax paid by this category of assessees has increased from ₹32.28 lakh in Assessment Year 2014-15 to ₹49.95 lakh in Assessment Year 2017-18, a growth of 55 per cent. There is also an increase of 26 per cent in the average tax paid by individual taxpayers from ₹46,377 in Assessment Year 2014-15 to ₹58,576 in Assessment Year 2017-18.
SP Singh, Partner at Deloitte India, feels there may be four reasons for an increase in the number of tax returns. These include effect of demonetisation, increase in the use of information being collected digitally and being used by the Tax Department, movement towards digital assessment and decrease in the number of cases being picked up for scrutiny and ease of getting refund, majorly by small and medium taxpayers. “The last two have reduced fear of the tax department among these sections of taxpayers,” he said.
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