New Delhi: Only 3.5 crore people, or 2.89 percent of the country's total population of more than 121 crore, file income tax return in India, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday.
Addressing the 5th meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to his ministry here, Chidambaram said, "Only 14.6 lakh people have declared their income of Rs.10 lakh and above for tax purposes, which is not realistic."
He said tax compliance in India has been quite low despite moderate rate of taxation in the country.
"Our peak rate of taxation is 30 percent at present. Therefore, there is lot of scope for better tax compliance and tax collections," he said.
The finance minister informed the consultative committee members that about 50 percent tax-payers in the country were filing their return online, according to an official statement released after the meeting.
He emphasised the need for wider use of electronic mode for filing of income tax returns, saying it would help in expediting tax processing and refund.
The finance minister informed the members that in 2011-12, till this time, refund of Rs.70,000 crore was made, which included arrears for the previous years while during the current 2012-13 fiscal refunds to the tune of Rs.57,000 crore have been made.
He said that the target for collection of direct taxes for the current financial year is Rs.5,70,251 crore.
Chidambaram said the focus of the government is on providing a reasonably stable tax regime which is in the interest of tax payers as well as tax collectors.