Not satisfied with the Finance Ministry’s decision to release Income Tax statistics for only one assessment year (2012-13), noted French Economist Thomas Piketty today said the government should have come out with the figures for earlier years for a meaningful analysis on income distribution.
“They (India) released detailed data by income range for one year only (2012-2013). For the entire period 2000-2015, the only data that was released is at the aggregate level, total numbers of taxpayers, total tax revenue, etc. In order to study the evolution of income distribution we would need to have the detailed data by income range for all years,” Piketty told PTI.
Data on direct taxes (Income Tax, Corporate Tax etc) in India have been released by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
CBDT today released Income Tax Return Statistics for assessment year 2012-13, PAN allotment statistics for 2013-14 and Income Tax Department time series data for financial year 2000-01 to 2014-15.
Piketty, the author of the best-seller book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century, earlier this year, had requested Indian government to provide open access to income tax statistics.
Last week, Piketty had said that he was still waiting for open access to Indian income tax statistics, while referring to an earlier assurance given by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian to this effect.
In a panel discussion at the Jaipur Literature Festival early this year, Subramanian had blamed past governments for non-availability of tax data, and had assured that the present government was working to fix it.
Piketty, who is known for his work on wealth and inequality, had said that was publicly promised to him by Subramanian at Jaipur festival in January, but nothing happened since then, despite his “many requests”.
India used to publish the All India Income Tax Statistics until 2000, when it was discontinued.