In 5 years, 46% hike in base: Tax net widens as individuals fuel the surge

May 1:Even as the country's total taxpayer base increased to 6.41 crore in assessment year (AY) 2016-17 from 4.38 crore in AY 2011-12 - a rise of over 46 per cent over five years - this surge has almost entirely been on account of individual taxpayers. Over these five years, the addition in individual taxpayers numbers was higher than the average trendline - up by about 48 per cent.
While the total taxpayer base grew at an average rate of about 7.9 per cent a year, individual taxpayers recorded an average annual growth rate of 8.2 per cent in these five years, inching up from 94 per cent in AY 2011-12 to 94.9 per cent in AY 2016-17, according to official data.
The term individual taxpayers include individuals who earn income through salary or through means such as interest, pension, who earn income from one housing property and individuals or Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) with income from profits and gains of business or profession.
The surge in the numbers is, in part, attributable to the tax department's focus on increasing compliance on the direct tax front, especially after demonetisation. It was reflected in an over twofold increase in searches to 1,152 by the tax department in 2016-17. The number of searches in 2016-17 was higher even than the combined number of searches in the previous two financial years (545 in 2014-15 and 447 in 2015-16). The total value of assets seized during these searches in 2016-17 stood at Rs 1,469 crore, as against Rs 712 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 762 crore in 2014-15.
During the first eight months of 2017-18 fiscal, the number of searches by the tax department stood at 360 (April-November). Searches during 2017-18 led to admission of undisclosed income of over Rs 10,100 crore. Also, over 3,100 surveys were conducted (till October) during 2017-18, leading to detection of undisclosed income of over Rs 2,400 crore. Even within the class of individual taxpayers, there is a skew in the tax payout trend, as pointed out by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2018-19. He had said that as against the general perception that individual business persons have better income as compared to salaried class, the major portion of personal income-tax collection comes from the salaried class.
For assessment year 2016-17, 1.89 crore salaried individuals who filed their returns had paid a total tax of Rs 1.44 lakh crores, which worked out to an average tax payment of Rs 76,306 per individual salaried taxpayer. As against this, 1.88 crore individual business taxpayers including professionals, who filed their returns for the same assessment year, paid total tax of Rs 48,000 crore, which works out to an average tax payment of Rs 25,753 per individual business taxpayer. Agencies
Source: Agencies



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