Tax evasion by the wealthy has been cited as a central element in the financial collapse of Greece, while not paying income taxes is also a major problem in Italy and various other debt-wracked nations. However, when it comes to not paying taxes, Indians are in a category of their own.
According to various media reports, only 2 to 3 percent of Indians pay any income tax at all. In December, India’s finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, said that 2.89 percent of the population (about 36 million people) filed income taxes. (In contrast, in the U.S., about 45 percent of the population pays taxes, which means that, despite India’s much-larger population, more Americans than Indians actually pay taxes.)
There are many reasons for this. Part of it has to do with the fact that many Indians do not earn enough annual income to even qualify to pay, but a larger factor has to do with India’s huge rural and underground economies, which present severe logistical issues with respect to collecting tax revenues.
Like virtually everything else in India, the tax system is ludicrously complicated, confounding, contradictory and wracked by corruption, inefficiency and incompetence. However, for the purposes of simplification, under terms of the 2012-2013 government budget, Indians earning below 200,000 rupees annually (the overwhelming majority of the country) are exempt for paying any income tax. Those making between 200,000 and 500,000 rupees are subject to a 10 percent tax; those earning between 500,000 and 1 million rupees, 20 percent tax; and those above 1 million, a 30 percent rate.
Compounding things is that, like their counterparts in Europe, India’s new wealthy do anything they can to avoid paying taxes. According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, India now has some 1,500 ultra high net worth individuals with wealth of at least $50 million and 700 who have more than $100 million of assets.
daily alternative | alternative news – How Many People In India Pay Income Tax? Hardly Anyone