Letters: Gross exaggerations

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 10, 2013 21:03 hrs

Apropos Anjani Kumar’s article “Zeroing in on the parallel economy’” (February 6), while there is no dispute with the statistics, one has serious doubts about the writer’s prescription for unearthing black money. How can one illegally acquire land, flats, houses and “other assets” that are clubbed in one bag? The Income Tax (I-T) Act has in place enough tools to gather information about such immovable assets, such as the mandatory reference from the registration authority when a property is registered. The problem is to make appropriate and timely use of such information. Therefore, such information, gathered in a routine manner, will have a very insignificant impact on tax revenue — not to mention the gross domestic product of the country.

The assumption that by changing the basis of filing tax returns from “total income” to “gross total income” as defined in the I-T Act is neither here nor there. Assuming that the additional number of tax returns filed, according to the writer, would be one million and they are required to pay the tax at two per cent, by his own calculation, the collection would amount to 1,000 crore. That is the amount shelled out by the I-T department on the annual upkeep of its Mumbai offices. How does it augment the country’s tax revenue significantly? Such ideas have been thrown up several times in the past 60 years. One now understands the reason for the tax department’s inability to lay its hands on the “parallel economy” in any meaningful way.

G R Saha, Kolkata

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