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Income Tax department to target tier-II cities to double the count of taxpayers
May, 13th 2015

Desperate to widen the tax base in a country where just about 2 per cent of the population files tax returns, the income-tax authorities now plan to corner tax evaders in smaller cities and towns, and double the number of taxpayers in a year.

Anita Kapur, chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), has in a letter exhorted senior tax officials to focus especially on tier II cities and towns, where "the gap between the potential and the actual taxpayers appears to be wider (than in big cities)". "Considering the priorities of the government and the need to widen the tax base, a concerted and focused effort in mission mode is required," Kapur said in the letter addressed to principal chief commissioners, directors-general (investigation) and chief commissioners.

She also wants the department to add at least 25 lakh new tax assessees every month, which can more than double the number of individual tax assesses in the country in year.

Right now, the number of tax assessees in the country is close to 3.5 crore, of which around 2.4 crore are individual taxpayers.

The department is under pressure to increase its tax base, particularly after direct tax collections for 2014-15 at Rs 6,96,200 crore fell short of the original target of Rs 7,36,000 crore. The tax target was revised to Rs 7,05,000 crore in view of the sluggish economic growth, but the department failed to achieve even that.

In the letter to senior officials, the CBDT chief has also invited suggestions on how the tax base can be widened.

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