The Ministry of Finance on 18 August released a clarification regarding the number of taxpayers that have been added after demonetization.
Modi, in his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, had claimed that during 1 April to 5 August, the number of additional personal income tax return filers has more than doubled to 5.6 million from 2.2 million in the previous year.
For full report, log on to www.timesofindia.com The department said the finance minister's statement regarding addition of 91 lakh taxpayers to the tax base referred to the total number of new returns filed during the entire 2016-17 financial year and "therefore, it is neither comparable to the data in PM's speech nor with the data in the Economic Survey (different period and different type of taxpayers)".
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on May 17 said that 91 lakh taxpayers had been added to the tax net as a result of actions taken by the Income Tax Department, while the Ministry of Finance informed Parliament 33 lakh new taxpayers had been added to the tax net as of August 1.
Questions were raised about the veracity of the figure, as on 11 August, Economic Survey anchored by chief economic adviser in the finance ministry Arvind Subramanian had claimed that only 5.4 lakh new taxpayers were added post-demonetisation.
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So, while prime minister Modi was talking about the difference in additional e-returns filed between 1 April to 5 August period of 2017 and 2016, Economic Survey was looking at new taxpayers that can be attributed to demonetisation during the period of 9 November 2016 and 31 March 2017.
"There is no inconsistency in the data provided by the government in the statements as these are in different contexts and for different time periods", stressed the CBDT. During the same period of 2015, 2.00 crore e-returns were received, meaning thereby, that in 2016, only 22 lakh (rounded off) additional e-returns were received by the due date of filing, it added.
Regarding the data published in the second part of the Economic Survey, the department said it was based on data for the period between November 9 and March 31, 2016-17, and corresponding periods of the last two financial years. "Moreover, the growth in the number of taxpayers discussed in the Economic Survey is based on the number of new taxpayers assuming the previous year's growth rate as the reference growth rate", the statement from the tax department said.
"The growth of individual return-filers referred to in the Prime Minister's speech is with respect to new and old taxpayers", said the CBDT. Thus, the data used in Economic Survey is different from data referred to in PM's speech in respect of the period of filing as well as the type of taxpayers and the two are not comparable. However, this data can not be compared with the other data mentioned.
"From the 1st of April to 5th August, 2017, 2.79 crore returns have been filed by Individual taxpayers as against 2.23 crore returns filed during corresponding period of past year", the statement said, adding that the number is expected to rise significantly as many more taxpayers are still to file their returns.
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