There is “unevenness” in the taxes paid by the salaried class and business people, as 50 per cent of the 7 lakh companies which file I-T returns show zero or negative income, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said today. The government, he said, is working on removing the “unevenness in the tax paid by different classes of people” by using foolproof technological system. He said the tax payer base has gone up after the GST roll out as well as demonetisation and there has been a concerted effort to make India a tax compliance society. E-way bill and invoice matching in the new indirect tax regime will help curb evasion, he added. Speaking at the CII post-Budget meet, Adhia said: “In the personal income tax (category), the salaried ones are paying more compared to business people.”
For assessment year 2016-17, 1.89 crore salaried individuals have filed I-T returns and paid total tax of Rs 1.44 lakh crore, which works out to average tax payment of Rs 76,306 per individual salaried taxpayer. As against this, 1.88 crore individual business taxpayers, including professionals, have paid total tax of Rs 48,000 crore which works out to an average tax payment of Rs 25,753 per individual business taxpayer. The department’s number of effective tax payer base has increased from 6.47 crore at the beginning of April 2014 to 8.27 crore at the end of March 2017. “GST has a very promising future… Honesty will get a premium in Goods and Services Tax,” Adhia said.
With regard to demands for reduction in corporate tax rate, he said that globally the revenue mop up from personal income tax is much higher compared to corporate income tax. “…While in India the personal income tax collection has to go up. Once that goes up then we will have some more scope,” he said. In the 2015-16 Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that the corporate tax rate would be gradually lowered to 25 per cent from current 30 per cent over the next four years. Over the last three years, the government has announced reduction of taxes in a phased manner for various categories of corporates and currently only 7,000 corporate houses are still in the 30 per cent slab.
In Union Budget 2018-19, Jaitley proposed to lower corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for businesses with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore. With regard to notices sent to individuals for high value deposits in banks post demonetisation in November 2016, Adhia some of these people have filed their returns showing “very very small income”, while most of them have not filed I-T returns. “Those notices will be taken to their logical conclusion in next 2-3 years… So the inflow of more taxes will continue next year also and may be the year after,” Adhia said, adding that the department has been “very conservative” while projecting tax revenue for next fiscal.