Jaitley wants 1-T base widened beyond 62.6 mn

India's income taxpayer base has moved up substantially to 62.6 million at the end of the last fiscal, from nearly 40 million earlier, CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra said today even as union finance minister Arun Jaitley called for a further expansion of the tax base.

Jaitley also exhorted officers of the Income Tax Department (ITD) for an expansion of the income tax base, but on a non-intrusive way, even as they strive to achieve the revenue generation targets.

He, however, said that tax payers should not make privacy an excuse for non-compliance.

At the same time, the finance minister asked tax officials to be prompt in redressing the grievances of the tax payers. He also highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the present NDA government for setting up a globally competitive tax regime with a stable policy and a non-adversarial tax administration.

Jaitley said that taxes are the backbone of any economy, adding that gradually, the mindset of the people is also changing as they want no one should be exempt from tax.

Jaitley was addressing the officers and staff of the IT department at a function organised at the Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital to mark the occasion of 'The Aaykar Diwas – Income Tax Day Celebrations-2017'.

The finance minister congratulated the officers and staff of the IT department for working towards changing the mindset of the people and helping them become more tax compliant.

Jaitley also gave away the Finance Minister's Awards for Excellence to 22 officers of various ranks in the ITD for their meritorious services.

Chairman of CBDT Sushil Chandra dwelt upon the technological changes in the ITD in the recent past, which have given it an edge in tackling tax evasion.

Income taxpayer base moved up substantially to 62.6 million at the end of the last fiscal, from nearly 40 million earlier, Chandra said.

"As on date, we have got 6.26 crore assessees. It is a myth that we have 3-4 crore... (These) assessees who have filed returns, paid advance tax or tax has been deducted at source. This is a large jump from earlier years," he said speaking at the Income Tax Day celebrations here.

Clearing the air on disclosure of bank account details of non-resident Indians (NRIs), expats, as well as foreigners with investments in private equity in India, Chandra also said that such accounts need to be disclosed only when a refund is due to the assessee.

The CBDT chairman said that post demonetisation the department has taken a host of measures to increase tax base and the statement of financial transaction (SFT) report filed by banks shows widening of taxpayer base.

The challenge before the taxmen now remains how to widen the tax net and officials are working towards it, he said.

Chandra said that with the enactment of the amended Benami law, the tax officials have found out clusters and persons who have invested money in real estate without filing tax returns.