By India Spend Org

An unnamed taxpayer owed the government of India Rs 21,870 crore (over $3 billion) for the assessment year 2014-15, which was 11 per cent of they income tax to be paid by all Indians, according to 2016 data, the latest available, from the Income Tax Department.

While three individual taxpayers declared business incomes of over Rs 500 crore, two individual taxpayers declared long-term capital gains of over Rs 500 crore in 2014-15 (for the year 2013-14). The names of these taxpayers are not made public.

The richest 1 per cent Indians own 58 per cent of India’s wealth, and 57 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom 70 per cent of India, according to data published by Oxfam India, a think tank.

In comparison, the top 1 per cent in the US accounted for 19 per cent of income and 38 per cent of taxes paid, US government data show. It is not possible to say what proportion of income and taxes are similarly paid by Indians because the government does not release such data.

The wealth of 388 people equalled that of the poorest half of the world’s population in 2010, and this has narrowed to only 62 in 2015, according to recent data from Oxfam.

India had 36.5 million individual taxpayers who declared taxable income of Rs 16.5 lakh crore and were liable to pay Rs 1.91 lakh crore as income tax — an increase of 23 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, over assessment year 2013-14.

In 2014-15, over 36 million Indians declared a salary income of nearly Rs 9.8 lakh crore ($144 billion), the equivalent of 7 per cent of gross national income of Rs 134.2 lakh crore in 2015-16, followed by business income of Rs 5.6 lakh crore ($82 billion) and income from other sources at Rs 2.4 lakh crore ($35 billion).

The maximum tax payable (Rs 43,964 crore) was in relation to income below Rs 150,000 annually, followed by a tax payable of Rs 17,926 crore in the tax slab of Rs 550,000-950,000.

The tax liability of individuals, Hindu undivided families (HUF), companies and other entities in assessment year 2014-15 was Rs 446,719 crore, an increase of 13 per cent from the previous year.

There were 64 taxpayers with a tax liability of over Rs 500 crore in 2014-15 with a total tax payable of Rs 113,068 crore, which was 25 per cent of the total tax payable of Rs 446,719 crore.

The collection of income tax (including securities transaction tax) increased nine times to Rs 2.9 lakh crore in 2015-16 from Rs 31,764 crore in 2000-01, Income Tax Department data show.

Just two states — Maharashtra and Delhi — accounted for 53 per cent of all direct taxes collected in 2015-16.

(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. The views expressed are those of IndiaSpend.) (IANS)

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