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Only 1% Indians Pays Income Tax
Jun 22, 2016

Only 1% of India’s 1.25 billion population paid Income Tax in fiscal year 2012-13 according to data released by the government recently, a statistic that is revealing about the gross economic inequality in the country.

As part of a transparency drive, the government has made public direct tax data for last 15 years. Data for individuals has been published only for 2012-13 assessment year, which shows taxes for income in financial year ended March 31, 2012.

  • According to the Indian Income Tax brackets of 2012-13, individuals below the age of 60 and earning less than Rs. 200,000 a year were exempt from paying taxes.
  • This group made up 68% of the total tax returns filed by individuals that year.
  • A total of 2.87 crore individuals filed income tax returns for that year, but 1.62 crore of them did not pay any tax—leaving the number of taxpayers at just about 1.25 crore which was close to one per cent of the country’s total population of about 123 crore at that time.
  • The tax outgo was less than Rs 1.5 lakh for a vast majority of nearly 89 per cent taxpayers (over 1.11 crore). Their average tax payable was just about Rs 21,000, while the collective amount stood at over Rs 23,000 crore.
  • The three individuals in the top-bracket of Rs 100-500 crore paid a total tax of Rs 437 crore–resulting in an average tax outgo of Rs 145.80 crore.
  • As many as 5,430 individuals paid income tax of over Rs 1 crore. Out of this, the tax range was Rs 1-5 crore for more than 5,000 individuals, resulting in a total outgo of Rs 8,907 crore.
  • As per the overall data, total income tax collections rose nine-fold to Rs 2.86 lakh crore in 2015-16, from Rs 31,764 crore in 2000-01.
  • The data further said that the bulk of individuals who filed returns for the assessment year 2012-13 earned an annual salary between Rs 5.5 lakh and Rs 9.5 lakh.
  • Over 20.23 lakh taxpayers earned Rs 5.5-9.5 lakh, while their cumulative salary earnings stood at Rs 1.40 lakh crore in the financial year 2011-12.
  • Further 19.18 lakh individuals earned salary of Rs 2.5-3.5 lakh that year.
  • Six individuals fell in the high-end earning bracket of Rs 50-100 crore of salary income.
  • In the salary range of Rs 1-5 crore, there were as many as 17,515 individuals.
  • Nearly 2.87 crore salary earners filed their I-T returns in assessment year 2012-13.


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