New Delhi: In the entire history of income tax filing, it is the first time that the filing has tumbled by more than 6.6 lakh; this happened in FY 2019. An analyst said it was quite surprising, as the tax base was anticipated to increase after demonetisation. According to the data provided on the e-filing website of the Income Tax Department, in FY 2018–19, income tax filers numbered 6.68 crore, considerably less than the 6.74 crore the previous fiscal year. E-filers in FY 2016–17 were around 5.28 crore in number.
“If the filings are indeed plateauing, it will be a worry for the fiscal which has seemingly shifted its focus to compensatory expenditure,” the report said. “Tax filings have surprisingly plateaued in FY 2019. This is surprising given that post demonetisation, it was expected that the tax base would continue to increase.”
However, the number of registered filers has been on the increase, growing by 15% to 8.45 crore as on 31st March 2019. In March 2013-end, there were nearly 2.7 crore registered filers, who almost doubled to 5.2 crore by the end of March 2016 and to 6.2 crores by March 2017.
Kotak said, the government needs to start looking at ways to further increase the tax base (optimally using the repository data from GST and demonetisation). Without an improvement in the tax base, there will be a risk for medium-term growth path.