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Government Asks Income Tax Department to Widen Taxpayer Base
May, 13th 2015

Government has embarked on a plan to widen the country's taxpayer base and asked the Income Tax department to bring under its net at least 25 lakh new assesses each month during current financial year.

Concerned over the very small number of people paying income tax in the country, the I-T department and its apex policy making body Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) have been asked to take up the project on a "mission mode", meaning initiation work in this regard on top priority.

A senior Finance Ministry official said that as per current data, the taxpayers base in the country is just over 4 crore which is about 4 per cent of the total population.

After directions from the Finance Ministry, CBDT Chairperson Anita Kapur has recently written to the top brass of the department to step up their work on this front.

"Considering the priorities of the government and the need to widen the tax base, a concerted and focused effort in mission mode is required.

"We have to strive for adding at least 25 lakh new assesses per month during the current financial year," Kapur wrote in her communication, also accessed by PTI, to top I-T officers in the country.

A senior Finance Ministry official privy to the development said CBDT has been tasked with the new target after a recent high-level meeting of top Secretaries decided to take up the project as desired by the government.

"The government wants to usher in a number of social welfare initiatives for citizens but if the taxpayer base is such a low percentage as it is today, large and ambitious goals cannot be achieved.

The top echelons of the government was informed by the secretaries and senior officials that a large tax paying potential remains untapped in the country.

The I-T department will undertake a special drive to achieve the target," the official said.

"The focus of the tax department will be to train the scanner on tier-II cities which are witnessing a lot of economic development.

A large base of taxpayers is lying untapped here along with other big cities, urban and rural areas," the officer said.

The CBDT boss, in her communication, has hinted towards the same direction.

"The number of existing income tax payers is low compared to the potential. The gap between the potential and the actual tax payers appears to be wider in the case of tier-II cities and towns," Kapur wrote.

Sources said the new strategy of the government has also been made the main subject for brainstorming and discussion during the forthcoming national conference of I-T and CBDT brass in the national capital which will be attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and experts on business intelligence and tax investigations.

"The officers working in the assessment and investigation units of the department will have to play a very crucial role in this effort of tapping new taxpayers and avenues for revenue generation.

"Hence, they have been asked to prepare strategy papers and presentations to suggest methods to achieve the new target set by the government during the conference keeping in mind at the same time the policy of a non-adversarial tax regime," the official said.

The CBDT Chairperson has asked I-T field formations to "forthwith" focus their attention on this subject and "deploy and activate" their officers in achieving this goal.

 
 
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