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The Southern India Mills’ Association

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Fact Checked: Government’s Claims Over Formalization of Economy

One of the infographics put up by the current government on the 48-month portalmakes certain claims about formalisation of the economy leading to securing people’s rights, as part of a broader set of claims about eliminating corruption. Here’s a fact check of these specific claims.
Claim 1: Has number of ITRs filed increased substantially? The first claim of the government is that the number of Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filed during financial year (FY) 2017-18 is 6.84 crore — a jump of 80.5% compared to FY 2013-14. The taxpayer has to communicate the details of his taxable income or loss to the Income Tax (IT) Department. These details are communicated to the Income Tax (IT) Department in the form of return of income. More information about ITRs can be accessed from the Income Tax website.
The claim here pertains to the ITRs filed during the financial years of 2017-18 and 2013-14. A press release of the income tax department notes, ‘During FY 2017-18,6.84 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) were filed with the Income Tax Department as compared to 5.43 crore ITRs filed during FY 2016-17, showing a growth of 26%. There has been a sustained increase in the number of ITRs filed in the last four financial years.
As compared to 3.79 crore ITRs filed in FY 2013-14, the number of ITRs filed during FY 2017-18 (6.84 crore) has increased by 80.5%.” These numbers can be corroborated from the income tax department website.
While the number of ITRs filed has increased substantially in the last few years, that is not reflected in the total direct tax collections. The growth in corporate tax collection in the four years of the current government is about 43% while it was 85% during UPA-II. In the case of personal Income tax, the growth during the four years of the current government is around 81% while it was 102% during UPA-II.