Did you know that Gujarat’s Moneybhai and moneybens make up about 9.34% of the country’s creamy layer? With the finance minister quantifying 42,800 persons in the country as ‘crorepatis’, income tax officials in Ahmedabad estimate 4,000 such ‘crorepatis’ in Guajarat fall in this category of persons who declare their taxable income as more than Rs one crore. Mind you, this is only the declared income, and like the FM, IT officials here also believe the actual number is much higher.
Additionally around 8,000 non-corporate asseses in Gujarat also fall in the finance minister’s super rich category. These non-corporate assesses include Hindu undivided families (HUFs), firms and other entities whose taxable income exceeds Rs one crore. Consisting of only 5% of the country’s total population,the accumulation of wealth and prosperity in Gujarat is noteworthy.
The Union Budget 2013-14 has proposed a surcharge of 10 percent on these super-rich individuals. “When I need to raise resources, who can I go to except those who are relatively well placed in society? There are 42,800 persons – let me repeat, only 42,800 persons – who admitted to a taxable income exceeding Rs1 crore per year…” finance minister P Chidambaram said in his Budget speech last month.
“It is compulsory for the high income group to file online returns. Based on our experience we can say that in Gujarat, roughly 12,000 non-corporate tax payers will be affected by this surcharge. Roughly 4000 individuals declare their taxable income in this bracket,” a top official from the income tax department has reported.
Total individual tax payers in Gujarat are 29.82 lakh. This is 9.2% of the total 323.54 lakh estimated in the country. Even as it may appear that wealth is polarised in this entrepreneurial state, tax officials believe this may be a underrated figure actually because many more are suspected to be hiding their real taxable income.
The per capita income of Gujarat has almost doubled from Rs43,395 in 2006-07 to Rs89,668 in 2011-12. However, tax collection from the state does not match these figures.
To put things in perspective, there are 29.82 lakh individual tax payers in the state who pay Rs8,920 crore. This comes to a tax of Rs29,912 per individual which is – interestingly - nearly half the national average of Rs49,337.
“Percentage of people filing nil returns – not showing any taxable income is around 15%. Majority of them file returns showing an income just above the benchmark tax slab so they have to pay little tax,” a top IT official says.