The number of individual crorepati return filers has almost doubled in the last five years, data presented in Rajya Sabha showed. Interestingly, the number climbed during the tough Covid years also.

In a written reply, Minister of State in the Finance Ministry Pankaj Chaudhry presented data that showed that the number of individuals who submitted an e-return with income of more than ₹1 crore was over 1.09 lakh during the Assessment Year 2019-20. This surged to over 2.16 lakh during AY24 (Fiscal Year 2022-23), showing a growth of 97 per cent. During the Covid years as well, that is, 2020-21 and 2021-22, there was a steady rise in crorepati filers.

For example, the number of such filers in AY22 was over 1.27 lakh, a growth of 6.7 per cent. This number rose to 1.87 lakh in the next assessment year, recording a growth of over 47 per cent. Although the Ministry has not given any reason for the rise in the number of crorepati filers, it is believed that not only has there been a rise in incomes, there has also been an increase in the number of filers.

According to the Income Tax Department, the number of returns filed rose to a new record of 8.18 crore for AY 23-24 (till December 31, 2023), showing a growth of more than 9 per cent as against 7.51 crore returns filed in the previous year. The Department said a number of measures introduced to ease compliance were used extensively by taxpayers, resulting in smoother and faster filing of ITRs.

In transition phase

A recent analysis of returns filed during the last 10 years (AY12-AY23) by the economic research wing of SBI, showed that with the rise in number of filers, there was also a transition of lower middle-income class to middle and upper class. Also, at the same time, the share of the high-income population has also risen. It noted that the rise in the population of the income group of ₹5 lakh-10 lakh, ₹10 lakh-20 lakh and ₹20-50 lakh, was 8.1 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively. There was a 0.2 per cent rise in the ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore income group while the income group of above ₹1 crore saw a rise of 0.02 per cent.

The SBI research has estimated that by fiscal year 2046-47, 0.5 per cent of filers will shift to the ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore income group and 0.075 per cent to the income group of above ₹1 crore.