New Delhi: The Income Tax department has launched an ambitious drive to bring under its net one crore new taxpayers after the government recently asked the taxman to achieve the target within the current fiscal.
As part of government's initiative to broaden the tax base, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy making body of the I-T, this week activated all field formations of the department to achieve the goal with the Pune region being given the maximum target of bringing in over 10 lakh new assesses.
The order issued by the CBDT, also accessed by PTI, has laid down region-wise targets. Maharashtra's second largest urban centre Pune leads the list with the target of over 10.14 lakh new assesses, north western states comprising Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana over 9.30 lakh new assesses, and the newly bifurcated states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will have to contribute 7.93 lakh new taxpayers.
Similarly, Gujarat region has been given a target of getting more than 7.86 lakh taxpayers, Tamil Nadu over 7.64 lakh, West Bengal and Sikkim over 6.91 lakh, and Mumbai region 6.23 lakh assesses. The target for the national capital has been set at 5.32 lakh new assesses.
The tax department has a total of 18 regions in the country for purposes of collection of revenue under the major heads of I-T, Wealth Tax, and advance tax for large entities like corporates.
The Board has also communicated to the taxman that it should adopt a multi-pronged strategy to achieve this ‘not-so-easy' target by holding meetings with trade associations and professional bodies and obtaining data on under-reporting assesses through technical and human intelligence.
The strategy in this regard was mooted and formally launched in May this year when CBDT told the tax department about the government's desire to have at least 25 lakh new assesses each month from across the country.
“With effectively eight months remaining in the 2015-16 fiscal, the target has now been set at one crore new assesses. The CBDT and the tax department scientifically arrived at these region-wise numbers taking into account the revenue paying potential of these different regions in the country,” a senior official said while explaining the new strategy.
These steps were mooted as the tax department is concerned over the “very small number” of people paying income tax. The official said as per current data, the taxpayer base is just over 4 crore which is about 4 per cent of the total population.
“Ambitious and multiple social welfare and development schemes can be launched by the government only when it has money in its pockets. The department, in its internal deliberations, has found that a large section of taxpaying population remains untapped and hence the new drive holds relevance and importance,” the official said.
The CBDT has also asked the taxman to clampdown on Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) defaults and ensure that big Income Tax defaulters are just not let off after slapping penalties but also prosecuted in a court of law.