The Income Tax department has hailed the 70.86 per cent increase in filing of returns over the last year due to finance ministry’s prudent tax policies. But there is nothing to rejoice. Keeping the basic exemption limit to file IT returns at Rs 250,000 for the past several years is the main reason for the rise. Due to inflation, the increase in dearness allowance and yearly increment for salaried class, the finance ministry has forced even the lowest paid staff to file the returns.
Let it not be forgotten that the people who pay taxes with less than Rs 500,000 income are paying with constraints as they are unable to make ends meet due to the high cost of living. Second, the department should also announce out of the 70.86 per cent increase how many zero-tax returns have been filed as am sure the number will be very large. Third, tax collection in the April-July period has increased by only 11.3 per cent and is at a three-year low. Just as the government is reluctant to reduce taxes on petrol/diesel, it is equally against enhancing the IT exemption because of which the middle class is silently suffering.
B G Rao Bengaluru
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