Of the total 5.78 crore individual income tax return (ITR) filers for financial year 2018-19, only 2,200 doctors, chartered accountants, lawyers and other such professionals disclosed annual income of over Rs 1 crore from their profession (excluding other incomes like rental, interest, capital gains etc.), while only 8,600 individuals disclosed income more than Rs 5 crore, data released by the Income Tax (I-T) Department showed.
Only 3.16 lakh individual taxpayers disclosed income above Rs 50 lakh, the tax department said. Around 1 crore individuals disclosed income between Rs 5-10 lakh and 46 lakh individual taxpayers have disclosed income above Rs 10 lakh, it added.
The I-T Department put out the details following comments of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, highlighting the less number of taxpayers declaring income over Rs 1 crore.
“In the last five years, over 1.5 crore cars were sold in India. Over three crore Indians went abroad for business or tourism. But the situation is such that in a country of 130 crore people, only 1.5 crore people pay income tax,” he had said, adding that only 2,200 professionals declare their annual income of over Rs 1 crore.
The I-T Department said that of the total 5.78 crore individual taxpayers for FY19, 1.03 crore individuals showed income below Rs 2.5 lakh and 3.29 crore individuals disclosed taxable income between Rs 2.5-5 lakh, adding up to 4.32 crore individuals having disclosed income up to Rs 5 lakh.
Since the Finance Act, 2019 exempted individual taxpayers having income up to Rs 5 lakh, therefore, 4.32 crore individual taxpayers having income up to Rs 5 lakh shall not be liable to pay tax for the current financial year 2019-20 and subsequent years and hence, only 1.46 crore individuals declaring income over Rs 5 lakh will be liable to income tax, it said.
To put things into perspective, 49,128 salaried income earners declared income over Rs 1 crore in the assessment year 2018-19 (financial year 2017-18). Out of total 5.52 crore returns filed by individuals in AY2018-19, 2,849 individuals filed for salary income over Rs 5 crore as against 2,254 individuals in the previous year. 35 individuals filed returns for income between Rs 50-100 crore and nine for income more than Rs 100 crore but below Rs 500 crore, as against 23 and two individuals in the respective categories in the previous year.
The heavy dependence on salaried taxpayers as opposed to other categories has been highlighted earlier as well by the government. Then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while presenting Budget for 2018-19, had said there is a general perception in the society that individual business persons have better income as compared to salaried class.
“However, income tax data analysis suggests that major portion of personal income-tax collection comes from the salaried class,” he had said.
Earlier, in the Budget for 2017-18, Jaitley had said “we are largely a tax non-compliant society”. Citing data for tax returns filed in 2015-16, he had said that of the 76 lakh individual assesses who declare income above Rs 5 lakh, 56 lakh are in the salaried class.
“The number of people showing income more than Rs 50 lakh in the entire country is only 1.72 lakh. We can contrast this with the fact that in the last five years, more than 1.25 crore cars have been sold, and number of Indian citizens who flew abroad, either for business or tourism, is 2 crore in the year 2015.
“From all these figures we can conclude that we are largely a tax non-compliant society. The predominance of cash in the economy makes it possible for the people to evade their taxes. When too many people evade taxes, the burden of their share falls on those who are honest and compliant,” he had said.
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